Key buildings along Hamilton’s rebounding Main Street business district received financing this week that should bring them into condition making them ready for rental.
Hamilton will borrow $1 million at a 3.5 percent interest rate that will be used for work on two buildings: It will complete the building at 302 Main St. with $567,000, and the building at 244 Main St. being brought to rental condition using the remaining $433,000.
When the work on those two buildings is finished, that will mean four key buildings on corners will be completed. Those four structures were developed because officials believe they will create significant progress along the street, and spur further development in nearby properties.
The properties should soon be “online and rented, not just stabilized,” said Mike Dingeldein, executive director of the non-profit Hamilton CORE (Consortium for Ongoing Reinvestment Efforts) Fund. “Our first plan was just to get things stabilized, but as we started to find tenants, we started to generate funds and generate plans to actually recruit those tenants and put them in those buildings.”
“So we’ll have four buildings completed and four buildings 100 percent rented, is our goal,” he said.
Here are the four buildings and their status:
1. 103 Main St. is occupied on all three levels by Quarter Barrel Brewery and Pub, which made its debut in January.
2. 139 Main St. is occupied by the store Pet Wants, which sells fresh, high-quality pet food; and two apartments.
3. 302 Main St., the former Hughes Pharmacy building, will receive about $567,000 to bring it into condition to rent the commercial space, with 12 apartments available to rent around November.
4. 244 Main St., a small building at the northeast corner of D and Main streets, is being developed into a potential restaurant along with the building behind it, at 16 N. D St. The $433,000 will be used to bring the interior into “white-box” condition so that tenants can occupy it. That money also will be used to build a mostly glass building that not only links it to the adjacent building, but also adds more space.
“We’re going to connect, with a one-story connector (made mostly of glass), the two buildings to each other, so it’ll be one large facility,” Dingeldein said. The building at 244 Main St. has an 800-square-foot footprint, with the building behind it, at 16 N. D St., part of the project, having 1,000 square feet.
“There isn’t much that fits in either of those, especially if you’re going to have bathrooms, or a kitchen, or anything like that,” he said. “Together we’re going to put an 800-square-foot addition in the mix, so it’ll be a 2,400-square-foot footprint, once we do the connector between the two buildings.”
Tom Vanderhorst, Hamilton’s executive director of external services, said building out 244 Main will help potential tenants imagine its possibilities.
“That 244 building, from everybody that’s walked through it, they’re restaurateurs, but they’re not developers,” Vanderhorst said. “That’s sort-of an overwhelming project for them to look at, to say, ‘Let’s build this out and do this.’ I think the only way this becomes palatable for them is to get it a little bit further along, and that’s what we’re trying to do here.”
City Finance Director Dave Jones said under an agreement among the city, Hamilton’s Community Improvement Commission and the CORE Fund, Hamilton will pay all $35,000 in interest the first year; the city and CORE will split interest the second year; and CORE will pay all $35,000 the third year. The loan matures in August of 2021, and there’s no penalty for early repayment, he said.
Mayor Pat Moeller said the financing marks significant progress toward improving Main Street.
“Those are, I think, well-spent dollars, because they’re going to get to the point of, ‘Yes, we can rent now,’ which means cash flow, which means people are getting paid off, and all, and that just helps,” Moeller said.
The increased number of people living in the area will boost business, he said: “It’s a good pedestrian street now, but it gets better, as people just come downstairs from their apartment and go to Richard’s, go to the HIP Boutique, go to Quarter Barrel, to Petals & Wicks.”