Sears building work creates another downtown detour

The effort to turn a vacant building into apartments has created another detour for people driving in downtown Fort Dodge.

Central Avenue between Sixth and Seventh streets has been closed to enable workers to install new water lines for the structure known to many residents as the Sears building.

That eight-story edifice is being renovated to create 48 apartments for senior citizens, including one- and two-bedroom units. Community rooms, an exercise facility and a library are also planned.

The building at 610 Central Ave. is owned by CBC Financial, of Fairfield.

Work on the $5 million project began in December. At that time, Jim Danaher, the president of CBC Financial, said the construction would be completed this fall.

Larger water lines are needed to serve the building in order to meet fire protection requirements, according to Tony Trotter, a project engineer with the city’s Engineering, Business Affairs and Community Growth Department. He said two new 6-inch diameter water lines will connect the water main under Central Avenue to the building.

Trotter said the water lines should be connected by the end of this week, and that portion of Central Avenue should be open to traffic next week.

The closure of part of Central Avenue is occurring at the same time sections of two other downtown streets, First Avenue North and First Avenue South, are off-limits to vehicles due to road reconstruction projects.

Water line work for the apartment building has been postponed twice, according to Trotter. He said the owner of the building, not the city, is paying for it.

Koester Construction Inc., of Grimes, is the general contractor renovating the building. Hovey Construction Inc., of Fort Dodge, is doing the water line work.

The building was constructed in 1916 to house Prusia Hardware. It was the site of the local Sears, Roebuck & Co. store from 1936 to 1964. In recent years, it has been largely vacant.