New owner plans additionA makeover is in the works for the building at the southwest corner of Second and Locust streets in downtown Hudson.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
A makeover is in the works for the building at the southwest corner of Second and Locust streets in downtown Hudson.
On Oct. 22, the city’s Plan Commission approved a preliminary plan for a significant addition to the rear of the building and remodeling of the existing structure.
Brian Hinz of Elliot Architects presented the plan on behalf of Andrew Kron, who bought the building last January from Janell Westerham. McSorley Insurance is the most visible of the current tenants of the building at 529 Second St.
Kron owns and operates the nearby Pier 500 restaurant and bar at First and Walnut streets.
Taller sidewalk windows will be a key feature of the redesigned façade of the Second Street building.
The plan is for the building to be extended closer to the rear alley, using a brick exterior that matches the existing brick. A new grand stairway will provide a rear entrance to the building.
The Plan Commission discussed whether Hinz and Kron should be asked to provide more off-street parking spaces than the four shown on the concept development plan.
Thirteen off-street parking spaces would be required for a building the size Kron is proposing elsewhere in the city.
When the City Council approved development and design guidelines for the downtown a few years ago, it also relaxed the off-street parking requirement for businesses in the district.
The idea was that the city shouldn’t hamper improvements to buildings by enforcing requirements the owners couldn’t meet.
It was suggested at the Oct. 22 Plan Commission meeting that the city require building owners to pay a fee for each parking space short of the normal minimum that they fail to provide.
The commission – comprised of Mayor Dean Knudson, chair, Alderperson Alan Burchill, Park Board Chairman Pat Casanova, Fred Yoerg, David Selissen, Mary Claire Olson and Kevin Vance – nevertheless approved the concept plan on a unanimous voice vote. Vance, who represents the Public Utility Commission on the Plan Commission, was absent.
Kron said in a phone call last week that he hopes to get going on the project within the next four to six weeks.
McSorley Insurance will remain in the building, but in a different location, Kron said.
He’s expecting to attract a mix of retailers and professionals to the renovated building.
The building’s location on Second Street, with a rear view to Lakefront Park and the St. Croix River, is a big asset, Kron said.
He said he worked with Elliot Architects for some time to come up with a building design that would “fit the overall look and feel of the downtown.”
“There’s different looks for different places in our city. I just felt the downtown needs to retain that historic look,” he said.
Kron said brick taken from the front of the building to make way for taller windows will be reused elsewhere on the exterior.