JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The Jefferson City Council unanimously passed a proposal to rezone property at the old International Shoe Company building to allow for a commercial, residential and retail project called the ISC Fun Factory.
No serious opposition has been voiced on the idea of repurposing the building, which dates back to the late 1800s.
The plan to repurpose the building has been endorsed by the city's Planning & Zoning Commission, the Jefferson City Convention & Visitor's Bureau and several members of City Council.
To clear the way for Haunting Productions LLC, the Portland, Oregon-based developer behind the project, the council must allow the property to be rezoned from M-1 light industrial to another status to allow for the proposed restaurants, shops, apartments and more.
"We want to do everything fun," said Raymond Latocki, an owner of Haunting Productions.
Latocki said the company has only heard positive things from the people in the Jefferson City area so far. The plan is to keep the building facade because of its history, which is also why they are keeping ISC in the name.
"It's a landmark already," Latocki said. "Everybody knows where it is. It has the name already on the side of it. That's what we want to keep."
The goal is to open the first floor -- which includes a seasonal haunted house, restaurant, mini-golf and ax-throwing lanes -- as well as the apartments on the fourth and fifth floors by the end of the year, Latocki said. Development of the other floors and outside areas will follow.
Latocki said those floors alone could require hiring about 200 people in the area.
Details of the proposed use of the land can be found in Tuesday's Jefferson City Council meeting packet.
Construction will start after the city gives Latocki approval on final plans, and after he establishes that the building will be refurbished and made safe.
He said the company plans to replace the current electrical system in the building, as well as clean up asbestos and lead. Latocki also plans on replacing 280 windows, but said he was reassured of the building's structural integrity by engineers.
"That building is rock solid. When they built stuff 100 years ago they built it rock solid,” Latocki said.
The only person other than Latocki to speak other than Latocki at Tuesday's public hearing was Tiwan Lewis, who is the only candidate for Jefferson City Mayor beside incumbent Mayor Carrie Tergin. Lewis said she was supportive of the project in general, but that residents need to be considered during the design.
Lewis said that the neighboring area struggles with addiction, and that mixing children's activities with alcohol could be a bad idea.
"This is a great addition to our community, however adding alcohol into an environment already struggling with alcoholism, the meth epidemic and everything-- I don't think this should be where children and families are recovering," Lewis said.
She did not have any specific suggestions for Latocki or the council, but said those things should be considered. After the meeting, Latocki said the Fun Factory could offer alcohol, be a destination for children's activities and uplift the neighboring area.
Latocki said construction could start as early as late March, and that he does not intend on asking the city for any financial assistance for construction costs.