Refurbishing Old Houses in Excelsior Springs

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EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. — A group in downtown Excelsior Springs wants to help you move into a new home.

The Downtown Excelsior Partnership is seeking bids to help refurbish run-down houses and apartment buildings, and make them useful again. They’re even helping would-be investors find tax breaks available at the state and city level.

Downtown Excelsior Springs has dozens of houses and apartments that are in visible disrepair — some of which are vacant and owned by the city. Keith Winge is searching for solutions. His economic development group is seeking investors to salvage the old houses, and prepare them for new tennants.

“Someone has to see the potential that building has to offer,” Winge said. “Usually, there’s someone who loves to save old buildings. That’s where it starts. It goes from there.”

The turn-of-the-century boarding house on Broadway Street is a good example of current housing stock. The three-story building hasn’t been occupied consistently in years, and it needs a lot of work. Winge’s group says 40 new families in these homes represent a potential $1 million worth of commerce.

“It takes that dedication,” Winge said. “It takes someone who is a preservationist, usually for current building stock, to see beyond the disrepair and vacancy.”

“It’s on the city’s books,” Scott Middleton with Kearney Bank and Trust said. “If we can get it in the hands of a developer, then they’re paying property taxes on it. The folks who live in it are shopping in the stores.”

Economists say bringing in new residents can inject new life into the local economy. Many of Excelsior Springs rehab properties are second-floor walk-ups  located just above existing retail shops. Winge says filling those second-floor properties provides the adjacent businesses with instant customers.

“We’re about to see what we’re going to do with this building and looking for developers or private individuals that have the knack of bringing buildings back to their glory,” Winge said.

Middleton says finding occupants for newly-remodeled houses could raise the overall property value of downtown Excelsior Springs.

Winge tells FOX 4 his group plans to spend the spring talking with potential developers. He’d like to see construction begin this summer.

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