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Historic Sioux City building could become 50-unit apartment complex

A Woodbine, Iowa-based developer plans to build a 50-unit apartment complex in the annex attached to the former Sioux City Central High School.

Darin Smith, co-principal of Arch Icon Development, on Tuesday explained the project to city's Historic Preservation Commission, which approved nominating the annex, at 1212 Nebraska St., to the National Register of Historic Places.

"We've done several of these historic rehabs," Smith said.

The commission voted unanimously to send an amended application to the state to extend the footprint of the historic high school to also cover the annex. The two buildings are attached.

Buildings placed on the National Register are eligible for certain grants or tax incentives, according to the U.S. National Park Service.

Caitlin Kolb, a historical preservationist with Omaha-based Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture, said the annex was "too young" at the time to be included on the application with the high school, which was nominated and listed on the National Register in 1974.

According to the commission, Central High opened in 1893 and closed in 1972 when other high schools were under construction. The building, at 610 13th St., later reopened as the Castle on the Hill Apartments in 2003.

Smith said the proposed apartments would include affordable one-, two- and three-bedroom units. He added at least 50 percent of the annex gymnasium would be kept intact to meet historical designation requirements.

The apartments also would feature an elevator and parking lot on the rustic lower level of the annex building.

Smith said the Woodbine company could manage the apartments once completed. He also said the group will consider hiring Omaha-based Seldin Company, which also manages Castle on the Hill.

The commission Tuesday also voted to nominate for historic status a downtown building that played a role in the Midwest armored car business during the 1940s.

Lew Weinberg, a longtime Sioux City-based developer, owns the Lewis System Armored Car and Detective Building at 700 Nebraska St.

According to the commission, the building is associated with the private investigation and development of armored car services used by banks and other organizations in Sioux City and other communities in Iowa.

Roger Caudron, who represented Weinberg during the meeting, said Weinberg has no official plans for the building. He added the project is within the scope of plans to renovate the nearby Davidson and Warrior buildings.

In March, Weinberg said he plans to open a 97-room boutique hotel with a 100-seat restaurant at the Davidson, while the Warrior could be converted into a 14,000-square-foot retail, restaurant and apartment space.

"It is connected in the periphery of the Davidson and Warrior projects," Caudron said after the meeting. "But it is not part of it."

Commission member Jim Jung said the nominations will require the approval of Mayor Bob Scott before they can be sent to the State Nominations Review Committee. The state deadline is June 10. If they win approval, they will be sent to the National Park Service for final consideration.