MARION — New owners of 1000 Seventh Ave. in Marion — where Maid-Rite closed its doors for the last time in January 2017 — have plans to reopen the building as an Airbnb and a family restaurant.
Jamie Hoth, owner of Select Construction Inc. in Marion, and Joe Hill, of San Diego, Calif., see potential in the 1860s historic building, where Maid-Rite served loose meat sandwiches for 31 years. It has since sat empty.
Hoth said the building holds a lot of childhood memories of eating Maid-Rite sandwiches with his parents. When he first looked at the building, he said he was so excited it was difficult to make sure it was a smart investment.
That’s when he brought in Hill, whom he had worked with on other construction projects.
“He said it was a good deal. I said I think we should be partners,” Hoth said.
Before flying back to San Diego this month, Hill put up six 7-foot Christmas trees in the windows of the building.
“I wanted to light up the corner. The building is back,” said Hill, who owns other property in Marion that he is planning to convert into a 19-unit apartment complex. “That’s 3,000 LED white lights twinkling in windows that have been dark for a long time.”
Brooke Prouty, director of Uptown Marion, praised the duo’s efforts to revive a key part of the district.
“It’s exciting to see this prominent corner in Uptown Marion come back to life,” she said.
The business partners want to have a 1950s-themed family restaurant on the first floor, which could open in the next year. Hill plans to incorporate some of his mother’s old recipes into the menu.
On the second floor are seven one- and two-bedroom apartments, one of which is occupied. Hill said the units will be “freshened” up and fully furnished for Airbnb short-term rental use.
Hill and Hoth said renovating the apartments will be a priority, with safety and preservation in mind. One of the first things on their to-do list is to add a sprinkler system to the wood structure.
The front of the building also could use some repairs, the business partners said, and Hill wants to make it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Even with the improvements, the building’s history will remain a central focus. For instance, Hill said the basement in the 1940s was home to a bowling alley called Duck Pin Alley. He’s thinking about trying to track down some of the original pins and return them to the building.
“We’re definitely interested in the history of the building and preserving it as much as we can, while also making it energy efficient,” Hoth said.
Hill and Hoth don’t have specific plans yet for the basement, but Hoth said they will use as much space as possible.
Each of the three floors, including the basement, is 7,000 square feet.
While it will be a while before all the renovations are done, residents might not have to wait that long to peek inside the building.
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For two weekends in December, Hill wants to turn the building into Santa’s workshop. He is working with the city on getting a temporary occupancy permit for the event.
Prouty said residents should “stay tuned” for a holiday-themed event in December.
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