By Kevin Collison
A decrepit building on Troost that was one of the first modern Safeway supermarkets built in the 1940s would be renovated into space for small businesses under a plan being pursued by veteran urban developer Butch Rigby.
Rigby, who’s experience includes renovating several buildings along East 63rd Street between Oak and Troost, has purchased the historic commercial structure at 3740 Troost and is partnering with Byron Pendleton on the $1.5 million project.
“I’ve been telling so many people when they ask ‘where I should develop and where’s the next frontier?’ I tell them Troost,” he said.
The project is near the Central Hyde Park Neighborhood and where Mac Properties is completing its big The Crosswalks apartment development at Armour and Troost, and where Clemons Real Estate has renovated several buildings on the west side of Troost between 31st and Linwood.
As for the 6,000 square-foot former Safeway, it’s in terrible physical condition.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” Rigby said. “The roof is caving in and it needs everything.”
That repair list incudes its floors, electrical system, plumbing walls and the adjoining parking lot.
Rigby is applying for a 20-year property tax abatement, 100 percent for 10 years, 50 percent for 10, from the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority. He also is seeking a 10-year, 100 percent abatement on property within the building.
In his PIEA application, the developer says the abatements for both the renovation and the interior property is necessary to keep rents affordable to local small businesses.
“We are wiling to invest the necessary funds to bring the building up to a solid Class B building, with suites for small firms, but we will require the tax abatement tool granted by the PIEA to help keep costs on a level playing field,” according to the application.
“The Safeway building is an important building in the neighborhood. It is also an important part of keeping small shops vibrant in an urban core becoming home to more and more chain operations.”
The building was one of five built in the area by Safeway in the 1940s as part of their new “Streamline Moderne” supermarket concepts. Previously, the retailer had operated as a corner grocery store.
It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the developer plans to use state and federal tax credits to help finance the project.
After Safeway closed, the structure was used as a laundry, electrician shop and an car repair business before being vacated.
The developers would like to begin work next year and have it completed by 2025, according to the PIEA application.
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