Inside Business: Cowan Building Renovation | VideoJim Christianson | 1/29/2013
"It`s probably the biggest little building we`ve worked on. It`s only 23 feet wide but has a great sense of presence," said developer Loran Galpin.
Galpin is overseeing the renovation project on behalf of owner Jon McCreary of Redland, LLC. Galpin says the Cowan Building is the final piece of the puzzle in filling in this part of downtown Bismarck, as there are no vacant lots on the block. "This is the only block that continually has no interruptions of any kind of buildings other than everything that`s filled and occupied. That`s really quite a feat for downtown."
The original two stories of the brick building were constructed in the 1890s, and it was the only building on the block to survive the Great Fire of 1898, which destroyed much of downtown Bismarck. In the 1950s, then-owner Bill Cowan added three more stories, which were mostly occupied by medical tenants. Now, the building offers more than 17,000 square feet of vacant space, which Galpin plans to turn into condos, office space and a main floor restaurant and bar. But none of this work would have begun without support from city programs to help pay for the most expensive part of the project: filling in a part of the building that was underneath the sidewalk.
Galpin says renovating older buildings can be challenging but can also offer some fun opportunities to discover historic details. "Renovations are always fun. There`s more interest and more excitement on seeing something brought back to life than creating something brand new. That`s the charm of it."
Galpin says demolition work will begin inside the building once all the asbestos is removed and he hopes to have the project completed in August or September. He says the main floor of the building should be ready in about three months. Work to re-pour the concrete sidewalk will be done in June or July.