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Dubuque cooperative proposes $37M redevelopment project

January 4, 2019
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In this Dec. 19, 2018 photo, Dupaco Community Credit Unit is finalizing plans to spend about $37 million to redevelop the Voices Building on East 10th Street, an iconic building in the city's historic Millwork District. (Nicki Kohl/Telegraph Herald via AP)

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — A Dubuque financial cooperative is finalizing plans to spend about $37 million to redevelop an iconic building in the city’s historic Millwork District.

Dupaco Community Credit Union wants to acquire and transform the property widely known as the “Voices building” into the cooperative’s new operations center, the Dubuque Telegraph Herald reported. Dupaco officials are also proposing tenant office space and new community amenities in the nearly century-old building.

The five-story structure once served as a local manufacturing hub but has been vacant and underutilized for decades, aside from housing the Voices from the Warehouse District annual arts festival.

Dupaco Chief Marketing Officer David Klavitter said the project would allow the cooperative to honor its origins.

“We were started by 10 meatpackers (from Dubuque Packing Co.) in 1948,” Klavitter said. “This is the neighborhood in which they lived and played and toiled together. We wanted to reconnect to our roots.”

The project depends on the cooperative receiving historic and economic development incentives from federal, state and city agencies, which could reduce costs to $24 million.

Tim McNamara of Wilmac Property Co., the building’s owner, said he believes Dupaco’s plan will bring more investment to the Millwork District.

“The big thrust is they will bring hundreds of jobs into the neighborhood,” McNamara said. “I think these employees will love where they work, and it will really be a big boost to all the bars, the restaurants and retail down there. It will be a great economic boost for the area.”

Dupaco officials said the restoration work could begin early this year. They hope moving into the building could happen by late 2020.

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