Keokuk Downtown Properties, LLC (KDP), under the umbrella of Main Street Keokuk, Inc., is proud to unveil its first renovation and re-purpose project located within Keokuk’s historic Main Street and Cultural and Entertainment districts: Eagles on Blondeau at 407 Blondeau St., Keokuk, Iowa, 52632.
The red brick portion of the building was built in 1925 with the blonde brick and terra cotta front added a few years later. The building was used by the Keokuk Aerie No. 683, Fraternal Order of Eagles, until the early 1990s when the FOE sold the property. The lodge then housed a variety of commercial ventures before being abandoned. Left to the elements, the building remained vacant and continued to deteriorate.
In 2011 the building was purchased by KDP and plans were launched for funding a complete rehabilitation project. Numerous private and public funding sources came together to finance the $2.5 million mixed-use project.
The 13,000 square foot building was put back into residential use in late 2013. The back commercial space was occupied in early 2014. The front commercial space is available for lease.
Eagles on Blondeau is a beautiful example of how a variety of financial incentives and programs such as federal and state tax credits, Enterprise Zone credits, Challenge grants, energy rebates, private donations, private investor loans and short- and long-term bank financing (both revolving and term) can be leveraged to make a project successful.
Collaborative efforts between local and regional professionals, volunteers, contractors, suppliers, city government, state departments and many others created a positive project for the community and lasting partnerships for future rehabilitation projects.
It was important from the beginning that preservation standards be met. A professional photographer was engaged to photo-document the building from roof top to basement in up-close detail. As decisions were made regarding design, the preservation and treatment of original materials, finishes and even financing options, discussions centered around the Secretary of the Interior Standards.
Before work started and throughout the project, advice was sought from the State Historic Preservation Office, the National Park Service, Main Street Iowa, historic window expert Bob Yapp, as well as others, including Kennedy Smith, Dan Tindall, Jack Porter, Jody McClure, Kathy Gourley and Donovan Rypkema. Site visits were conducted and numerous meetings were held in Des Moines with both SHPO and MSI. After many hours of dedicated work by volunteers and professionals and four total design revisions, the NPA and SHPO approvals were obtained.
Whenever possible, local businesses were used. Keokuk firms Poepping, Stone Bach & Associates and Twitchell Construction took the lead as architects and project manager. Local attorney Kevin Kuckelman, who had recently completed his own major historic tax credit project, served as development consultant. Twenty-two trades and more than 130 people worked on the project.