Willard-Hopkins Project Honored as Top Building Rehabilitator at Main Street Iowa Awards | News, sports, jobs

TR PHOTOS BY ROBERT MAHARRY – From left to right, Hopkins Willard owners Joe and Janelle Carter, Marshalltown Central Business District (MCBD) Executive Director Deb Millizer and MCBD Board Chair Cindy Parks pose for a photo earlier this year in one of the newly decorated apartments week. On Friday, the Hopkins Willard project was recognized with the Main Street Building Rehabilitation Project Award for Communities with More than 5,000 People at the Main Street Iowa Awards in Des Moines.

DES MOINES — The Marshalltown Central Business District (MCBD) was well represented at Friday’s 2024 Main Street Iowa Awards ceremony, held at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines.

Earlier this year, the MCBD nominated two city projects and one volunteer for the annual award, and the Willard-Hopkins project was announced as the winner of the Main Street Building Rehabilitation Project Award for communities with more than 5,000 people.

Willard-Hopkins owners Janelle and Joe Carter and Cutler Construction, the developers they worked with, accepted the award.

The Willard-Hopkins project was one of eight entries. MCBD Director Deb Millizer described the project as a catalyst for downtown Marshalltown that achieves many of the organization’s goals: additional housing options with 13 upstairs apartments and one ground floor apartment; honoring the integrity and designation of the historic district; providing additional renovated retail spaces for future businesses; be a catalyst for the activation and development of downtown retail; and an increased MCBD presence in the community by having a renovated, modern, first-class building that houses the MCBD office, which is shared with the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce at 34 W. Main St.

“It sets a standard for what we want in the downtown area. Janelle and Joe went above and beyond what we currently had and what we need to have,” said Millizer. “And I think it inspires other people to look at those other spaces on the upper floors and what they can do with them. They can see someone who has given a fantastic example of how to work with different agencies (and) different organizations, with a historian, with architects and the different layers that go with that. You’ve laid out a roadmap of how it can be done, and the things you’ve learned, I know you’re willing to offer that knowledge and share it with other people.

The Carters, Millizer and Parks are standing on the stairs of the top floor of the building. As a result of the renovation, a total of 13 upper floors and one apartment on the ground floor were created.

Janelle Carter spearheaded the project with a vision to honor and renew the historic features of the interior and exterior, and she said a key element was the use of the existing footprint to maintain the integrity of the spaces while units to be modernized to provide a usable space for years to come.

Millizer added that Janelle’s passion was infectious as she worked on the project after purchasing the buildings in 2021. Willard’s Fur and Fashion, one of the oldest stores in Marshalltown, was closed after the derecho and the Hopkins building had been vacant since the tornado. in 2018.

Carter said she fell in love with the Hopkins Building 20 years ago when Jim Clark owned it, and was excited about the opportunity to work again with the Cutler brothers, with whom she had worked on the Crosby Park housing development.

“My goal and my desire for the buildings was not to change the appearance of the buildings too much, and I think we succeeded in that. Of course you have to install everything in a modern way. We took out the ceilings in some of the rooms so we could get services there and things like that,” Janelle said. “This building was originally built in 1868 and redecorated between 1902 and 1906 somewhere in there, so you can see it didn’t really have a lot of modern amenities.”

A lot of work was done to return the buildings to their original charm. The building’s exterior masonry received a 2023 facade restoration award from the Masonry Institute of Iowa, and the Carters worked closely with the State Historical Preservation Office.

“That’s why we have the outdoor elevator. I just felt like it was really important to get one in town,” Janelle said.

Other key participants included the City of Marshalltown, the MCBD and the Chamber. In October 2021, the project received a $550,000 housing grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, which was followed just a few weeks later by a $100,000 Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant for exterior facade improvements.

The apartments, many of which have already been rented, have a distinct vintage look and charm, combined with modern amenities and views of the revived city center. Ultimately, Carter said she was “super proud” of the community support they received, and Millizer was quick to return the praise.

“We are thrilled that Main Street Iowa is recognizing this first-rate project that Janelle Carter has led. We work closely with Janelle, so it is easy for us to see the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into making this project a leader in downtown rehabilitation,” she said. “When others outside our community recognize the brilliant work, it helps our community see the truly amazing things happening right here in our downtown. It’s not easy to tackle a project of this magnitude, but the impact will move our downtown forward for years to come!”

The Hopkins Building now serves as shared office space for the MCBD and the Chamber, while the Willard Building remains available for retail use.


Contact Robert Maharry at 641-753-6611 ext. 255 or

[email protected].

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