The Blue Building continues to make headlines as it was included in the top 10 stories of 2021 when the city reached a new deal with Investment Partners. Now that chapter of the Blue Building's long history has closed after its purchase was closed on Wednesday, Oct. 26.
Throughout the year, the city of McMinnville came increasingly close to being relieved of this historic building. September proved to be a productive month as the property was approved for townhomes and for the Blue Building Tax Increment Financing.
The McMinnville Board of Zoning Appeals met to consider a special exception for multi-family dwellings and apartments for 201 W. Colville Street. Townhomes are the intended use for the property by Investment Partners, with developers Bobby Kirby, Lake Kirby and Jewell Hale. Zoned Residential-2, those are allowed on appeal as a permitted use.
According to Community Development Department planner Sean Garrett, the request meets all city zoning codes. After discussions on the matter, McMinnville Board of Zoning Appeals members unanimously approved the special exception, contingent upon an approved site plan as required by McMinnville Zoning Code.
On Sept. 19, the Warren County Commission approved the TIF with only commissioners Steven Helton and Scott Kelly voting against the issue.
Lake Kirby and Investment Partners closed on the deal on Oct. 26, and a project manager was on site later that day to get familiar with the property before the gutting.
Investing partner Bobby Kirby said, “We got a man on the job, we are starting immediately.” He said that it will take a couple months before the clean-out is complete, and then they will send bids out for renovations.
Lake is hoping the gutting will be done by mid-spring of 2023. He said about renovating, “We’ll start as soon as we can.” Twenty-six condominiums are planned for the property with five additional buildings in the back. “It’s probably a 2-3 year project,” said Lake. “I think the Blue Building itself should take a year or 18 months.”
After that, the five additional buildings will be built, and Lake said, “We will phase them, do a couple at a time.” He added that they are excited to get the process started as soon as possible.
City administrator Nolan Ming said, “We are very excited to see this project get started. The Blue Building has so much meaning for this community, and a rich history, and we are thankful that Investment Partners is honoring that history by renovating instead of demolishing the building."
To honor that history, Lake said, “This used to be an old school, so if anyone has old school photos, class photos, or memorabilia, we’d like to turn the hallways into a museum.” Any picture of the historic landmark to be hung on display at the new residential building can be sent to Lake at firstname.lastname@example.org.