Project to turn historic Springfield building into residential and commercial space seeks abatement

Springfield officials are pondering the idea of entering into an agreement that could benefit potential businesses moving into a historic building that is part of an up to $30 million project to create more apartment and retail space in the downtown.

The Community Reinvestment Area Agreement, if approved, would center on the building that used to house the Wren Department Store, also known as the McAdams Building. It is part of a project to create dozens of apartment units and new retail space.

The Turner Foundation is working with developer Dillin LLC to renovate the historic building, build an addition, and create 89 apartment units and roughly 13,000 to 15,000 square feet of commercial space.

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The ground floor would be used for the commercial space and the other floors of the five-story structure, that will see an addition built, are slated to be used for housing.

Construction is slated to start early next year and would take between 16 to 18 months to complete. Those behind the project are seeking state tax credits in order to help cover the costs of the build.

The Community Reinvestment Area Agreement with the city of Springfield would relate to the commercial space that will be created as a result of the project. It would create a 50% abatement related to improved property tax evaluations on the commercial space for a period of 15 years.

Aaron Horn, a Development Coordinator with Dillin, said that the abatement would benefit future tenants and small business owners since it would lower their tax burden during that 15-year period. He added that would especially be the case since their commercial leases include paying property taxes.

Springfield city commissioners will be asked to authorize Springfield City Manager Bryan Heck to enter into the agreement during their next public meeting at the end of the month.

A request for a tax abatement regarding the residential aspect of the project would be a separate agreement. Horn said he believes that process would start after the project is completed.

Efforts to turn the McAdams Building into apartments and retail space have been in the works for a number of years. Previous plans ranged from building up to 36 and 56 apartments as well as adding on to the building or constructing a 20,000 square foot addition.

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Renovations slated to began in 2020 were postponed after a potential developer for the project pulled out, citing concerns over the return investment on the property.

The scheduled renovations were expected to cost around $10 million to $12 million depending on the number of apartments created and what amenities they would include.

But with Dillin working on the project now, the idea is to create more apartments, construct an addition to the building and create retail space. Those behind the project are also looking to obtain more funding as inflation and the rising cost of materials can have an impact.

The Turner Foundation previously received up to $2 million in historic state tax credits for the project. However, there are plans to apply for a new pool of tax credits that could provide more money for the project and replace existing tax credits received.

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