Bown-Corby to become apartments
Developer Tom George has big plans for the Bown-Corby building. Marion City Council Monday approved a contract with the Wichita developer to buy the building for $40,000 and turn it into 10 or 11 high-end apartments.
George’s first step after closing is to invest $5,000 to $10,000 to bring the building up to historical standards so it can be listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. He estimates the process to take a month or two, and then he will immediately begin construction on the apartments.
The apartments will be similar to ones George has built in two historic schools, Sunnyside and Kellogg in Wichita.
“Because of the building’s character, every apartment will have tons of character,” he said. “I love old schools. I think they’re neat.”
Upper level apartments will feature tall 12 foot ceilings and all apartments will have appliances, large bathrooms and closets, and an open kitchen and living room. All plumbing and electrical will also be brought up to date.
To determine rent rates, George will compare the apartments to other rental properties in town, but estimates the cost per month to be between $300 to $600.
George hopes to be done with the project next spring. However, the contract includes a right of first refusal stating if for some reason George doesn’t continue with the project, the city can buy the property back.
Economic development director Jones said he is confident this will not happen after talks with George and adressing the demand for rental properties within the city.
Local real estate agent Lori Heerey told Jones she gets multiple calls a week inquiring about residential rental properties in Marion.
“It is a great deal because we are saving and preserving an excellent building while filling a need for the community,” Jones said.
Jones has compiled several documents pertaining to the building, including the original blueprints and contractor instructions and photographs, which he will give to George after the sale finalizes.
“He wants to blow up the images and use them to decorate the halls,” Jones said.
A public hearing by the Planning Commission to change the building’s zoning to residential will be at 7 p.m. Aug. 26 at the city building.
Last modified Aug. 6, 2014