Downtown Washington Streetscape

The retail and residential units 1, 3 and 5 W. Main St. are just some of the downtown locations up for sale.  

The downtown property shuffle is fast-paced these days 

Several buildings on West Main Street on the east end of downtown are for sale, with one new buyer making plans to move in.

On the sale block: 

1 W. Main St.; 5 W. Main St., the former Julie Underdown Photography studio; and 14 W. Main St., home to the Missourian Publishing Co., which is moving its downtown operations to its printing facility at 6321 Bluff Road. 

Recent sales in that area include the storefront at 3 W. Main St. and 220 Jefferson St., Underdown’s studio before she moved operations to Main Street.

On the west end of downtown, the former Otto Furniture Store building at the corner of Elm and Second streets is also for sale.

What’s going on with: 3 and 5 W. Main

Washington native Kaitlin Holdinghausen, 33, bought the 3 W. Main St. location, which was listed at about $450,000, said Liz Stemmley, salesperson with Re/Max Gold First. The purchase price was not disclosed. The deal closed Friday, May 7.

Holdinghausen plans to turn the 3,000-square-foot space into her private residence, Stemmley said. Both halves of the former photography business are zoned for retail, residential or a mixture of the two, she said.

The 3 W. Main St. location is not finished, but the 5 W. Main St. location is, and that approximate 3,400-square-foot location is listed at just under $650,000.

1 and 14 W. Main

Next door, the 1 W. Main St. building houses the office of H&R Block and empty space on the main floor plus empty offices and an early-1900s dance hall on the second floor, according to Julie Burt, Blondin Professional Real Estate sales adviser.

The two floors plus the basement total to about 11,000 square feet, Burt said.

Owner Don Meyer has listed the space for just under $800,000.

Missourian Publishing Co.’s 18,155-square-foot building and its 1-acre lot are on the sale block for $1.2 million.

Encouraging Market Spurs More Activity

Locally, it’s a good time to sell, Burt said. With Andy Unerstall’s new condo construction downtown and the Hoffmanns’ purchases for their $100 million winery complex in Augusta, there are plenty of people interested in buying local real estate, she said.

“We’re always going through transitions downtown, and it’s nice to see people come in and fix these buildings up,” said Tyler King, Downtown Washington Inc.’s executive director. “I think it’s nice that they come in, they see the value in the historic district to have their business, and obviously, the market is hot right now.”

In February 2021, the number of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices commercial and residential properties sold in Franklin County reached 85, according to previous Missourian reporting, which was a 37 percent increase since February 2020. Year over year, properties were on the market for 38 percent less time this February, too, at 63 days.

“There’s definitely an influx of buyers out on the market,” King said.

100, 104, 106 W. Main

Unerstall said he is “gutting” the first floor of 100, 104 and 106 W. Main St., known as the Pecka Building, and turning the first-floor former office spaces, one of which belonged to Loushane Sebastian Salon, into a patio. Above the 480-square-foot patio will be four apartments. 

Loushane Sebastian Salon is moving to 221 W. Second St. 

Beyond Main

Main Street is not the only street seeing changes.

Underdown’s former Photography studio at 220 Jefferson St. was acquired Feb. 12 by Marshall native Nate Hartung, 47. The listing price was $350,000 King said. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Larry Rice also is selling the 17,560-square-foot Otto building on the corner of Elm and Second streets for $1.39 million. The building’s first floor houses The Hive Salon, its second floor is office space for Rice’s D.F. Ingredients Inc., and two apartments and an office, formerly a yoga studio, fill the top, he said.

Hartung, who is an attorney and works as a consultant for startups, owns a commercial design business and Storybook Genius Publishing, a children’s book publishing operation.

He is using the 220 Jefferson St. building as his personal office space temporarily, he said, but declined to disclose his future plans. Although he has sold his Augusta-based book publishing location, he said he is not sure if he is moving its operations to St. Louis or the local area.

“It would be fair to say that we’re not going to be a bookstore,” he said. There is an exception to this, however. He may sell the books he prints at Storybook Genius Publishing.

Rice put the Otto building on the market about six months ago but said he is not desperate to sell. “It’s just something that we’ve decided if a buyer comes along and wants it as is, he can have it, or she can have it.”

The 1894 building was first used as a furniture store, but it has been updated with modern amenities, Rice said. If sold, his company on the second floor will move to his other properties in Union, New Haven or Washington.

Selling or buying a downtown property that we missed? Email cruze@emissourian.com, and we’ll add it to the online version of the story.