SPRINGFIELD — After months of work behind the scenes, two historic buildings in downtown Springfield have new owners after sales were facilitated by a downtown nonprofit.
The Downtown Springfield Heritage Foundation, a tax-exempt organization that accepts donations of historic downtown buildings with the intention of facilitating their preservation and rehabilitation, announced that sales had closed on properties at 312 and 627 E. Adams St.
The 312 E. Adams St. property was donated to the foundation late last year by the previous owner, developer Gerry Hughes. The foundation then sent out a request for proposals on the three-story parcel, seeking someone to buy and renovate the building and provide a business plan for a project that complemented the existing downtown scene.
The foundation chose a proposal from Marty and Laurie Haxel, who already own space at 310 E. Adams St. The pair plan to expand their businesses, Haxel Law and Haxel Consulting, and develop the upper two floors in both properties for residential use.
The Haxeles were not available for comment Friday. The foundation declined to provide a sale price, though the minimum bid in the RFP was $30,000.
The building is one chunk of what is essentially a block-long building on Adams Street between Third and Fourth streets. The block was built in 1912, though a fire in the mid-1970s destroyed the building's eastern portion, where the vacant building once occupied by Illinois National Bank now stands.
The parcel includes street-level commercial space below two floors that have previously served as apartments. The property has been vacant for some time but previously housed a Latino social service agency in the mid-2000s. In the 1960s and early 1970s, Illini Blueprint set up shop in the space.
Hughes bought 312 E. Adams along with 316 E. Adams for $160,000 in 2005 from developer Dennis Polk. Though he planned to redevelop the properties, including upper level apartment units, it only happened at the latter address, which Hughes later sold to Realtor Phil Chiles for $225,000 in 2016.
At 627 E. Adams St., the foundation helped facilitate a sale of the building to Seth and Ivy Molen, owners of Brick City Apartments. They, through their limited liability corporation, bought the property for $10,000, according to tax records from Sangamon County.
The sale will allow much-needed repairs to take place to the aging building, which needs a new roof. And, perhaps most importantly, it allows current tenant, The Cardologist, to stay put.
The store, known for its eclectic mix of cards, socks and other knickknacks, was in danger of closing earlier this year if repairs had not been made, having been given notice by its previous landlord to vacate the building by the end of February.
That's when the foundation stepped in to help seek a remedy, eventually setting up the sale between the previous owner and Brick City.
"Everybody always assured me that my ability to stay here was their number one priority, so I just had to take that attitude and see where it went," said Doug Mayol, owner of The Cardologist. "And it appears to have worked out, at least for now."
Mayol is a more recent tenant of the space, moving there in 2016 after spending 25 years at two different spaces on Sixth Street. The building has a much deeper backstory, however.
Built in 1885, it was the home of Hofferkamp Brothers Hardware Store from the early 1910s to 1958. From 1965 to 1980, it was a toy store.
And from 1983 to 1991, it was Reisch Shoe Shop. The shop claimed at one point to be central Illinois' largest home-owned shoe store. It was in business at several locations between its founding in 1916 until closing in 1994.
Scott Troehler, president of the Heritage Foundation board, said the group is "extremely pleased with the outcome for both of these buildings."
"Retaining and expanding the small businesses in the district as well as adding more residential units, which we know are in demand, is a wonderful outcome," Troehler said. "We'll stay involved with both projects to ensure the outcomes meet downtown's needs and expectations."
The last time the Heritage Foundation accepted a donated building to be immediately resold to a winning bidder was in 2008 with the Bunn-Sankey House, 1001 S. Sixth St. The home was built in 1883 and is the only surviving home in Springfield from the first-generation Bunn family.
It was bought by Springfield attorney Bruce Beeman for $5,800. After a year and half of renovations, it became -- and still remains -- the home to Beeman's law firm, Wolter, Beeman, Lynch and Londrigan.
The foundation said it would continue to accept donations of downtown properties and seek to find new-generation buyers to buy and maintain them.