Contractors set to move in

CUTLINE: Gus Kapnisis stands outside the future home (former bus barn) of the new Gus & Tony’s Town House in downtown West Union. Contractors are scheduled to begin construction this week on the bus barn and two additional buildings, which are part of the community’s downtown multifamily housing project. (Mike Van Sickle photo)  




Contractors set to move in

By Mike Van Sickle
Union editor

Matt Construction was expected to start construction as early as Monday on three West Union buildings as part of the community’s downtown multifamily housing project.

The construction has been eagerly anticipated by not only Gus Kapnisis, owner of Gus & Tony’s Town House, but all of his faithful customers.

Kapnisis announced in January 2013 that he had signed an intent-to-purchase agreement with Main Street West Union (MSWU) for the former bus barn, located at 100 S. Vine. The original Town House structure was destroyed by fire on N. Vine Street in May 2012.

“I am so excited to see the actual construction process begin,” said Kapnisis, while standing outside the future home of the popular restaurant early Monday afternoon. “It is a great feeling to know that the public will soon be able to witness the progress being made for themselves.

“I can not wait for the day to open the doors of the new Town House to my many friends and loyal customers,” he added.

While six upper-story apartments will be constructed, Kapnisis will be responsible for finishing the lower level. In addition to its menu of home-style cooking, the new restaurant will feature a larger kitchen and a party room.

Main Street West Union Director Robin Bostrom stated Monday that the general contractor has been informed of the importance of beginning construction on the lower level of the bus barn as soon as possible.

In addition to electrical and HVAC installation, she noted there are many structural improvements required of the former bus barn building.

“Needless to say, I am excited to see the entire project getting underway,” added Bostrom. “This will be a huge transformation for the south end of Vine Street. It is not only good for housing, but also the retail spaces.” 

In addition to the former bus barn, the project consists of renovating the existing upper-story housing units of the building (two apartments) located at the corner of Vine and Elm owned by Dick Woodard and the “Bank Block” building (four apartments) owned by Steve and Pam Rogers.

Only vacant downtown second-floor apartments were eligible for funding. Apartments that are occupied or had been recently vacated were not eligible.

Another stipulation is that 51 percent of the total units will have to be available to low- to middle-income tenants.

  In addition, Bostrom reported that bids are expected to be released next week for the façade master plan. Construction is slated to begin late September or early October with substantial completion required by June 2014.

The participating façade buildings include the Bank Block Building, Chamber of Commerce, Fuller Block Building, Lauer & Lauer Insurance, Tap’t Out Stein-n-Dine, Fehr Graham, Union Drug Store, Unionland Feed & Supply, West Union Professional Building, Williamson Building, Garvin’s LP Building. 

For additional information on the upper-story housing project and/or the low- to middle-income requirements, call Bostrom at (563) 422-8655.

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