Oskaloosa Downtown Development, LLC, (ODD) is working to redevelop the portion of the McMillen Building (formerly Swim’s) that was damaged by fire May 11, 2015. ODD agreed to purchase the building from Doug and Kathy Swim in late August, with the intent of refurbishing the main level for commercial use, and the second story as market-rate apartments.
“ODD initially got involved with the businesses affected by the Swim’s fire to help provide technical assistance,” said ODD Chairman Jim Hansen. “ODD remained involved when insurance settlements proved inadequate to restore the building. ODD wanted to prevent demolition of the building and wanted to help with restoration, so the McMillen Building can continue to contribute to the economic vitality of the Main Street and Historic District and community.”
The redevelopment will occur in phases. “Our first priority was to stabilize the building so 1st Avenue could reopen,” said ODD member Todd Roach. Next, ODD general contractor Neumann Brothers Inc. began removing debris from the building caused by the fire, water and mold. The clean-up process also involved removal of asbestos and lead-based paint, which are commonly found in historical structures. The building was stabilized by creating a temporary structure to support the north wall while a roof structure could be put into place.
“The roof not only provides structural support, but helps prevent additional damage to the building interior caused by exposure to weather,” said Roach. “The enclosed work environment will allow contractors to continue the rebuilding process during the winter months.”
Going forward, ODD will work with Neumann Brothers to finalize interior plans for City approval, complete interior structural repairs, and pursue rebuilding of the first and second floor interiors. “In order to complete the rebuilding process, ODD will pursue funding from state and possibly federal sources who support Main Street communities, creation of workforce housing and historic preservation,” said Hansen.
ODD, LLC is a non-profit organization which provides professional and financial resources for the redevelopment of Oskaloosa’s historic downtown area. Formed in 2002, ODD has rehabbed five buildings so far, investing over $6 million in the downtown area.
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