Turner Foundation continuing effort to turn historic Springfield site into apartment living

The Turner Foundation is continuing its efforts to turn a historic downtown Springfield building into apartments - a project that has been in the works for several years.

Developers were hoping to start renovations this year on the building, which used to house the Wren Department Store. It is also known as the McAdams Building and is located at 31 East High Street.

Renovations have been pushed back after a potential developer for the project pulled out, citing concerns over the return investment on the property, said John Landess, the Turner Foundation’s executive director.

“That is part of this process. We are not giving up,” he added.

The plan was to build up to 36 apartments in the upper floors of the building while leaving the first floor open to retail. 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.

The project has recently caught the attention of Dillin LLC, which is already working on a separate plan to redevelop the former Kroger building on South Limestone Street.

Landess said if Dillin decides to develop the project, it could be larger, with potential additions to the building.

The Turner Foundation previously received up to $2 million in historic state tax credits for the project. The plan at the time of the original application in 2017 was to add 20,000 square feet to the McAdams building as well as turn it into 56 apartments.

Landess said going into 2019, the foundation decided to forego the addition and reduced the number of residential units planned for the property. Instead, they came up with a plan that called for more than 30 apartments to be created in that space.

However, that can change depending if the project gets a new developer.

Larry Dillin, the president of Dillin LLC, said his company is evaluating the project, including looking at potential costs as well as finance opportunities.

Dillin said that his company is in the beginning stages of its involvement with the project. He said that a lot of work has been previously done regarding the building, including securing the historical tax credits.

The goal is to have the pre-development analysis completed by the end of the year. A formal contract would be announced after that, if Dillin LLC decides to become the project’s developer.

“This project has evolved over time. Right now the focus is getting them comfortable with the design and going through the numbers. It is something that takes time to work out,” Landess said.

The building was built in the 1920s, but in recent years was left vacant. It was nearly demolished, but members of the Turner Foundation felt it could be used to boost local efforts geared towards bringing more residents and businesses downtown.

The building has been owned by Wren Building Partners since 2017, according to the Clark County Auditor’s Office. The company’s incorporator is listed as the Turner Foundation on the Ohio secretary of state’s website.

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