PLATTSMOUTH – Plattsmouth Mayor Paul Lambert this week said the old Plattsmouth High School building on Main Street was just two years or so away from demolition for its deteriorating condition.
But now, this structure, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will be reborn with a classy update.
“This is a big step for the community,” Lambert said.
The mayor, along with City Administrator Erv Portis, announced on Tuesday that the final major financial hurdle has been cleared for a developer to renovate the structure into apartments.
That came in the form of a $1.2 million tax credit grant from the Nebraska Investment Financial Authority last Friday to MDX Investments, L.L.C. of Omaha.
With that grant in place, MDX will now proceed with its $10 million project to convert the structure into apartments, plus build two smaller apartment buildings in the vacant parking lot in the back.
“I’m very excited not just about saving the building, but to see it put to good use by a firm investing $10 million in our community,” Lambert said. “This structure has a lot of meaning in our community.”
The city will contribute $700,000 over the next seven years to the project, Lambert said. The money will come out of the city’s economic development fund.
Ironically, $700,000 was the estimated cost to have the structure torn down, Lambert said.
“I would rather put $700,000 into this development than demolish the building,” he said.
MDX plans to create 26 one- and two-bedroom apartments in the building, located at Ninth and Main streets, plus build two buildings with eight apartments each on the back lot parking area.
“There’s potential for some really neat units,” Portis said.
The project also includes landscaping on the grounds directly behind the old school and to the east of the parking lot.
Altogether, this new development will take up 3.2 acres, Portis said.
The last graduating class in that building occurred in 1976. Over the years, the interior in particular was tarnished by the effect of bad weather and vandalism. Many of the windows are currently broken out.
City officials long sought a solution for bringing the structure back to life. Numerous developers expressed interest, but proposals didn’t work out, according to Lambert.
It was a connection with the Omaha architectural firm of Alley Pointer Macchietto that led them to MDX.
The key point in MDX’s plan was to take advantage of the back lot parking area and build apartments there, Portis said.
The historical aspect of the structure will remain, he added.
“The development will respect the architectural integrity internally and externally,” he said.
New windows will be the major change on the exterior, Portis said.
“Over the next couple of years we should see a lot of activity at the top of the hill,” he said. “I think it’s an exciting time for the community.”
Lambert mentioned this development could provide new housing options for the expanded workforce at the Vireo plant. And, when there are more people living here, more commercial developments are sure to follow, he added.
“This is very good for the economy of Plattsmouth,” Lambert said.
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