With two new businesses open in the former Finders Keepers on Main Street in Parkville, developers and city officials may be looking at a wider tax abatement program to spur property improvements downtown.
The Craic Irish pub and Vintage to Vogue boutique opened for Parkville Days in the former two-building antique store, which recently underwent a major renovation and structural repairs. Developer Brian Mertz first outlined his plan to seek tax abatement assistance on the renovation projects in March and last month he and attorney Patricia Jensen returned to the board of aldermen for a status check.
A blight study was conducted on the buildings after Mertz purchased them early this year and realized they were in worse condition than anticipated.
The findings of a blight study were presented in March, outlining the history and condition of the two buildings that made up Finders Keepers — which has relocated to the Parkville Antique Mall. The two-story building was built in 1890 and has been home to a dry goods store, the Parkville Post Office and more. It was once remodeled, in the 1920s. Around that time, the one-story building on the corner of Main and Highway FF was built. That building was the location of the city’s first U.S. Post Office.
The buildings were both deteriorating, according to the study. The electrical system was outdated and dangerous and the breaker panels couldn’t handle modern loads. The building lacked proper ventilation — leading to mold — and the second story of the larger building was sagging and in danger of collapse. There was also severe damage to a foundation wall, which had caved in.
Additionally, the foundation at the back of one building had completely caved in,
“To say that we got into more than we expected would be an understatement,” Mertz said of the condition of the buildings.