City Council Talks Buildings

Casper, Wyoming - The redevelopment of Downtown Casper continues to unfold at an almost record pace. David Street Station a lightning rod for much of it. New restaurants are popping up, new shops, an art gallery and still in the wings is a new state office building.

Last night, at city hall an overflow crowd, many hoping to grab their piece of the pie as the downtown area continues to expand even further into the Yellowstone District.

More than 200 people attended Tuesday night's Casper City Council meeting. Much of the excitement over the fate of three buildings in the downtown area. Two of the buildings were sold, the old Ka-larks gymnasium and Milo Toyota, both on Ash Street. But one building remains in the balance. The Plains Building.

“When we bought the Plains Furniture building, we honestly didn't know what was inside it. And as we made some discoveries, it kind of changes the ideas of what might be there,” said Bob Hopkins with Casper City Council.

The old Plains Furniture building, now sitting in the shadow of David Street Station, may actually have some historical value, so it's fate not yet determined.

“The Nolan Chevrolet building is actually inside of that building. And this dates back to the 20s and the building is in very good shape. There's a couple areas where there's Terrazzo Tiles on the floor and that was simply covered up with carpet, and that's also in good shape,” said Hopkins.

“Preserving that could be a priority,” said Councilman Jesse Morgan. “It all depends on what council decides and what our constituents think we should do with it.”

The Downtown Development Authority asked the council to hold off on all of the building sales, but the two were sold anyway.

“One person wanted to put a cupcake factory in. One person wants to start a business where they sell all kinds of products like shirts and hats. And another gentleman wants to put in some lofts and some businesses,” said Dallas Laird, Councilman.

Whatever makes their way into those buildings, the hope is that Casper's economy will getting a major shot in the arm.

“Any empty building or any empty lot that could have a new structure or a remodeled business, brings us customers. Brings us customers for lunch, for dinner, for happy hour, for breakfast. For your shoe shop, your clothing shop, it benefits all of us,” said The Office Bar & Grill owner, Jim Kanelos.

The Downtown Development Authority says it will work with all the new business owners, but hopes the idea of a new convention center isn't lost in all the excitement.