A nearly ill-fated historic downtown building is breathing new life thanks to a small group of ambitious local investors working with the City of Marion. What many referred to as an eye sore is now fully occupied for commercial and residential use, and boasts a bright, appealing façade.
For several years, the 1920 building at 139 E. 3rd St. sat abandoned after its previous owner, Stephen P. Wolfe, vacated. It had been deemed unsafe, and the City of Marion took ownership in 2015. There was talk of tearing it down, but the City and hopeful individuals wanted to give it another chance. Volunteers cleaned out much of the building which made it more marketable. Shortly following, three visionary entrepreneurs — Phillip Bowers, Trent Dailey, and Jonathan Preusz, making up BDP Real Estate, LLC — worked with the City to purchase the building in the summer of 2018.
The three worked for many months with contractors and even family members to revitalize the building. In the fall of last year, local designer, Linda Harmon, moved her studio and décor shop, Design Studio 407, into the west half of the 1st floor. She is reportedly getting record business at the high-visibility location. The owners also transformed the 2nd floor into two apartments (each 2 bedroom, 2 bath) with one unit attracting visitors as “Cityscape on 3rd” through online lodging marketplaces such as Airbnb, VRBO, and Zillow. Most recently, the east half of the building was leased to a company for use to be announced.
“There is growing interest in downtown, and it’s because the market is not saturated,” explained Bowers. “We were one of the first to offer luxury apartments downtown; therefore, we took a risk.”
Preusz added, “About 2 years ago, there was practically nothing down there, but in a relatively short period, there has been a lot of development.”
The team celebrated the City’s pursuit of grants to improve streets, sidewalks, etc. “50 years from now, I hope downtown gets back to being a hangout spot like back in the day…perhaps a lot sooner,” expressed Preusz.
The group has notably invested in other properties in Marion & Grant County with a mission to “improve the community one property at a time.”
About BDP Real Estate:
BDP Real Estate, LLC
Jonathan Preusz, Member / Co-founder
City of Marion
Jess Alumbaugh, Mayor