Renovation movement underway in downtown Marion

Two downtown buildings receive facelifts

MARION — A downtown building is getting a facelift after being purchased from the city by a local developer.

BDP Development is investing $300,00 in the former Wolfe building, located at 139 East Third Street, to turn the 8,000 square foot space into a mixed-use development consisting of apartments and commercial space.

Phil Blowers, a partner with BDP, says there is a need for nicer housing and more retail downtown.

"Marion is part of a big comeback right now," Blowers said.

Third Street is also known as State Road 18. Because the road leads directly into Marion, it needs to be appealing.

Mayor Jess Alumbaugh says of the road, "It's important to me that it look healthy and get healthy. We are gonna make that happen. This is gonna be the heartbeat of our city moving forward."

The Wolfe building is not the only one getting a facelift in downtown. The building next door, which the city sold to the Marion Housing Authority, will also see renovations.

"Successful towns are having a regeneration revival in their downtown and Marion should not be any different than that," Steve Sapp of the Marion Housing Authority said. "We'll find ways to do it specific to who we are as a city and a community and we're doing that."

The Housing Authority building will contain a restaurant on the first floor and five market-rate apartments upstairs. Students from the Marion High School Career Center will work on construction on the second floor, saving the Housing Authority $100,000.

The renovation movement is drawing rave reviews from area businesses and members of the community. Rachel Creech, who operates Country Cafe and Bakery two blocks away, says she is onboard.

"I think it is gonna do well. A lot of people have been so negative about Marion. I think it's gonna go a long way," Creech said.

The Wolfe building could be open in six months. 

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