The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Features

January 14, 2013

Downtown Clinton building to receive makeover

CLINTON — The former Patrick’s Steakhouse and Brewery building will undergo a transformation from what was twice a restaurant and even further removed, a paper company, into a fresh, modern office space.

Patrick and Julie Lonergan, both 32, of Clinton, purchased the building last month with the intent to create an office space both could use.

The pair was raised in Clinton and moved to Minneapolis after finishing college. They returned to the area in 2007.

“We really had a great experience growing up in Clinton. Of all the places we could move in the country, we felt that we could make a difference in the place that we grew up,”Julie said.

After scouting buildings in downtown as well as Lyons, they were most captivated by the Sixth Avenue South location.

“I think it was the fact that it was so unique — it had a lot of character — and the bones were so good, we don’t have to do a lot of work to it,” Julie said.

The couple plans to spend $50,000 to renovate the inside of the building to suit the needs of Julie’s senior housing management company and Patrick’s financial practice.

The bar will be converted into a space for entertaining or educating clients.  The brewery area will be converted into a conference room that the couple is also considering opening to the public for use. Meanwhile, the actual restaurant will be converted into five offices.  Clients and others will enter the building to find the waiting area has been converted into a reception space.

“It’s kind of a three part win,” Patrick said of downtown space being repurposed. “The business owner wins because they have a really neat space cheaper than they could have gotten anywhere else. It’s a win for the city of Clinton because people are now invested back in the downtown. I think the community wins because we now have a really good space where people can come transact business in.”

In addition to the 7,000 square feet on the main level, the couple has the same amount of space to work with on the second level.  Their ideas for this space aren’t as solid.  

“In my mind I’ve got two or three different options. I really would like to get a space for artists to create. We could find some space up there for people to do that at almost no cost. The second option is an office co-op,” Patrick said.

The third option would be to put apartment units above the office space.  

The outside also will receive a $10,000 to $15,000 renovation possibly including another mural or eye-catching sign.

Renovations will start this week. The couple, who have experience in real estate and renovations, have a target completion in five to six weeks.

Beyond fulfilling their office needs, Patrick and Julie want the space to be a beacon for others who are considering spaces for a business.

“I think hopefully what we’re most proud about is not only utilizing  a historic building that has gone vacant but also doing it in a cost effective way so that we can show other people that, yes, you can develop a new building out on Mill Creek Parkway, but you can also utilize some of these existing spaces here and have a really cool space,” Julie said. “I think it’s really hard for people to walk into a vacant space in downtown and say ‘here’s the vision.’ So we’re going to make that vision come to fruition and hopefully other people will say ‘yeah, I can do this.’”

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