Local company plans to renovate downtown Dubuque apartment building

CORRECTED: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect spelling of Ray Stuart’s last name. 

A local company plans to acquire and renovate a downtown Dubuque building that houses senior apartments.

Gronen is in the process of purchasing the Henry Stout Senior Apartments building at 125 W. Ninth St. with plans to rehabilitate the structure so it can continue to offer low-income housing to older adults.

Dubuque City Council members recently approved contributing $350,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds toward Gronen’s purchase of the building from MDI Limited Partnership No. 47.

Randy Schmitt, chief financial officer at Gronen, said the company intends to complete the purchase by the end of the year and begin renovating the building in spring 2023.

The work will include masonry restoration of the south and east wall of the building and facade and roof repair.

Schmitt said the 33-unit apartment building is deteriorating, and the planned repairs are needed for it to continue hosting tenants.

“Our goal is to keep this a viable low-income housing facility,” he said. “This fits right in with other projects Gronen has done before.”

Schmitt said Gronen had not yet established how much the acquisition and renovation of the apartment building is expected to cost, but in a CDBG application submitted to the city, the company estimated the project would cost $3.94 million and be completed by November 2023.

To aid in paying for the project, Gronen likely will apply for state historic tax credits, Schmitt said. He added that none of the building’s current residents are expected to be displaced during construction.

Once the project is complete, Gronen will continue to provide low-income affordable housing, Schmitt said.

“This fits right in with what drives us in our passion as a company,” he said. “It’s not a building that will be a high revenue generator, but it’s got such an important value within the community.”

Ray Stuart, maintenance supervisor for Henry Stout Senior Apartments, said the building last was renovated in 2000 and that the building’s current owners are in the process of renovating four apartment units.

The building formerly served as the home of Henry Stout, a wealthy lumberman and former Dubuque mayor who lived in the 1800s. Stout donated the building in 1894 to the Dubuque YMCA. It was renovated into apartments in 2000.

MDI Limited Partnership No. 47 could not be reached for comment on this story.

Mayor Brad Cavanagh said he supports the city’s contribution of funds for Gronen’s project and that it falls in line with the city’s goal of maintaining existing housing in the community.

“There are quite a few people already living there now who might struggle to find housing in other places,” he said. “For me, this is a good use of those funds.”