Kibbey Building ribbon-cutting Tuesday

Three new businesses to be showcased

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY The historic Kibbey Building will once again be the scene of a ribbon-cutting. At 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, owner Barb Hagstrand, Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, and more will celebrate the opening of three new enterprises at ground level. The event is open to the public and free-of-charge.

Credit local businesswoman and resident Barb Hagstrand for keeping her word.

Nearly one year ago – Sept. 28 – Hagstrand said at the Gallery Garden ribbon cutting she would host a ribbon cutting once the ground floor of the historic structure in the 100 block of East Main Street was completed.

It is – and now it is home to three new businesses – Tannin Wine, Thrivent Financial and Van Gogh’s.

Upstairs are four apartment lofts.

At 4:30 p.m., on Tuesday, Hagstrand and others will celebrate a major milestone of a journey which took several years to complete and cost an estimated $3 million. The event is free-of-charge and open to the public.

The Kibbey Building is surrounded by the Tallcorn Towers and Marshalltown Senior Residences (formerly Iowa Wholesale Building) – two major downtown development projects which, helped dramatically re-shape East Main Street’s appearance pre-tornado. While the Tallcorn had some exterior damage, MSR was not as fortunate. Extensive damage was done to the roof and apartments on the third floor. The site has been fenced-off.

Kibbey Fire in 2012

More than six years ago, the burnt-out shell of a three-story building at 135 E. Main St. greeted shoppers and workers in the heart of downtown. A 100-year-old+ historic property which once housed the Marshalltown Business College, later KFJB-AM and finally, a street-level grocery store and other businesses was completely destroyed in a fire set by an arsonist.

Grants awarded 2015

The project received nearly $1.2 million in grant money from the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) in January 2015. The money will be used to convert the second floor of the building to apartment lofts.

“Without this funding, I’m sure the second floor conversion work wouldn’t be happening to this scale,” said Marty Wymore of Region XI Planning Commission.

Wymore added that in total, the conversion of the Kibbey Building at 125-131 East Main Street is a $3 million project. The first floor will be converted to business spaces.

The grant continues the recent trend of revitalization on Marshalltown’s Main Street with the former Tallcorn Hotel and Iowa Wholesale Building being converted to apartments in recent years.

“When you add this to what’s already taken place with Tallcorn and Iowa Wholesale, it’s a great thing for this part of town,” said former Marshalltown City Administrator Randy Wetmore.

“A major part of our work here at IEDA is making sure we have strong communities where people want to live,” said Debi Durham, director of the IEDA. “Administering this disaster recovery funding to help Iowa’s cities and towns rebuild is vital to the economic success of our state.”

IEDA received 77 applications from communities for these funds, totaling more than $173.3 million in funding requests. The grants are awarded based on the potential impact of the project, benefit to low-and-moderate-income persons and commitment of developer and local resources to moving the project forward in a timely manner.

“It’s certainly going to help redevelop that part of the community,” Wymore said. “There will be four very nice apartments there that should be a great asset for the future of the city.”

Gallery Garden opening in 2017

The Gallery Garden on the building’s east side opened in summer of 2017. It is a privately owned, one-of-a-kind urban-style green space open to the public. It was developed to address storm water runoff. Additionally, it features artwork and a sculpture. It features a water garden, with rows and rows of green plants adorning the east wall just below a giant metal butterfly.

The 7×4 steel butterfly which sits high on the Kibbey Building wall overlooks the Gallery Garden “symbolizes the metamorphosis of the Kibbey Building and Gallery Garden,” according to a site promotional piece.

Plants were placed vertically and irrigated with storm water from the roof. Storm water is collected in cisterns underneath an adjoining parking lot and then recycled to the east wall. Additionally, the Gallery Garden compliments a major rehabilitation of the building’s interior.

“This (Gallery Garden) has to be one of the most talked about projects in a long time,” said former Mayor Jim Lowrance then. “Regardless of where one was, you would hear questions, ‘What is going on at the intersection of Second Avenue and East Main Street?'”

Current Mayor Joel Greer has touted it as a symbol of downtown Marshalltown’s post-tornado renaissance. Lowrance and Greer have pointed to the significant investment of private capital melded with grants to induce other investment.

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com