1st commercial open house draws 25 to downtown Cape

Friday, September 28, 2012
Attendees talk during a reception at 20 Main St., during the Downtown Commercial Open House Thursday, September 27, Downtown Cape Girardeau. The event, coordinated by Old Town Cape, Realty Executives and Banterra Bank, featured eight properties available for sale or lease on Broadway and Main Street. (ADAM VOGLER)

People thinking of moving their business or their home downtown had many options to consider Thursday during the Downtown Commercial Open House. Commercial property owners showcased eight properties available for sale or lease on Broadway and Main Street as part of the event put on by Old Town Cape, Realty Executives and Banterra Bank.

Jeff Martin of Realty Executives coordinated the open house, an idea he said grew out of a brainstorming session of Old Town Cape's Economic Restructuring Committee.

"Residential open houses are so common, so we thought it would be a natural fit for commercial buildings," Martin said.

About 25 people toured the buildings, motivated by a variety of reasons.

"Some are looking for a storefront, they just don't have a presence now. Others are looking to relocate or for a second location," Martin said.

Diana Thompson looks around the building at 121 Broadway St., during the Downtown Commercial Open House Thursday, September 27, Downtown Cape Girardeau. The event, coordinated by Old Town Cape, Realty Executives and Banterra Bank, featured eight properties available for sale or lease on Broadway and Main Street. (ADAM VOGLER)

Along with real estate agents, visitors could talk with bankers, an architect, city inspectors and city planning staff.

Mike Rust, who recently purchased the former Masonic Temple building at the corner of Spanish Street and Broadway, had his three-story building included in the open house.

"I don't know what I'm doing with the building yet, but it's got lots of great potential," said Rust, who purchased the building at 121 Broadway from Randy Werner.

Built in 1891, the building housed the Masonic Temple until 1969, when it was sold to Vida and Eddie Keys, who opened Keys Music Store there.

A portion of it is available for lease, but Rust said he's keeping his options open. Rust already has one downtown business, Ashley Bailey Kitchens & Baths, at 125 and 127 N. Main St. He also owns Rust & Martin Interior Design on Kingshighway.

Rachel Lawson admired the building during the tour. She wanted to attend because she enjoys the character of downtown architecture.

"I just love looking at the old buildings," said Lawson, who previously lived in an apartment downtown. "And I love supporting small businesses."

Six new downtown apartments will soon be under construction at 112 N. Main St., as part of a development by The Hamlet Group. The company will seek historic preservation tax credits to create four new one-bedroom apartments and two luxury two-bedroom apartments to be completed late next year, said Melinda Winchester, property manager and a historic preservation specialist.

For those considering a downtown location for their business, Sheena Faught, owner of Esprit Jolie Photography, highly recommends it. She opened her business on Spanish Street in 2009 and has since been on Main Street and is now in the 143-year-old Julius Vasterling building at the corner of Broadway and North Sprigg Street in Cape Girardeau.

Being downtown is part of how she makes her living, using many downtown locations as backdrops for her photo shoots including doors, alleyways and even rusty chain-link fences.

"It's historical. You just can't beat it. I have to stay downtown," she said.

Old Town Cape executive director Marla Mills said she was pleased with the turnout.

"It's a specific audience we're trying to reach, so we didn't expect a huge crowd," Mills said.

Martin said it's likely another downtown commercial open house will be held this spring and that it may become a biannual event.

Buildings on the tour were 1227 Broadway, 1105 Broadway, 635 Broadway, 325 Broadway, 121 Broadway, 112 N. Main St. and 20 N. Main St.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

20 N. Main St., Cape Girardeau, MO

1227 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, MO

1105 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, MO

635 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, MO

325 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, MO

121 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, MO

112 N. Main St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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