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greek cafe
The Greek Cafe building at 88 E. Park St.

A developer is proposing to invest nearly $700,000 to redevelop the historic Greek Café building in Uptown Butte.

Nick Kujawa of Kujawa Development submitted the only response to a

developer's packet issued recently by Butte-Silver Bow to purchase and improve the severely deteriorated structure at 88 E. Park St.

The council of commissioners is scheduled to hear Kujawa's proposal during Wednesday's council meeting.

The city-county is offering to sell the 13,665-square-foot building for $5,000, with the stipulation of redevelopment.

Kujawa Development, which recently refurbished the Sears Building on East Granite Street, envisions an improved Greek Café to serve as "a vibrant commercial retail and office building anchoring the eastern entrance to historic Uptown Butte," according to the company's proposal.

The building historically had six retail tenants on the ground floor. Kujawa's proposal would preserve those storefronts with six new, 800-square-foot retail spaces.

"These smaller, affordable retail spaces will be used to help local entrepreneurs get started with the retail business of their dream, whether it be a gift shop, a yoga studio, or a clothing boutique," his proposal states.

The building's second floor includes about 4,500 square feet, which would be divided into two, open-plan office lofts, according to the proposal.

The document does not list the pricetag to rent the renovated spaces following construction, but says small-scale retail units would "offer affordable space to encourage independent art, shopping,

fashion and dining "which in turn helps create a vibrant, 24-hour community in Uptown Butte."

It also would put the property back on the city-county's tax rolls.

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Kujawa says his company has spent hundreds of hours reviewing the building and consulting with an engineer, and has a strong understanding of the challenges to redevelop the structure.

The developer is proposing to use about $61,000 in public money already earmarked for the Greek Café's redevelopment for interior demolition and stabilization.

Once the building is stabilized, Kujawa's company would move forward with redevelopment with an estimated investment of about $695,000.

The project would be completed in about a year.

In all, $169,750 in public money is available as cash incentives for redeveloping the building. Kujawa says he would expect to tap into the remainder of those funds after the building is stabilized and redevelopment begins.

The city-county's developer's packet review committee normally hears redevelopment proposals before reporting to the council of commissioners.

But because of public interest in the Greek Café project, commissioners on Wednesday will hear Kujawa's proposal, said Karen Byrnes, community development director.

A public hearing on the developer's proposal is scheduled for the March 9 council meeting, she said.

Commissioners meet at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday on the third floor of the courthouse, 155 W. Granite.

Council Chairman Dave Palmer said constituents have raised concerns about additional public money being spent on the Greek Café, and said the building belongs in private ownership.

"They (constituents) just didn't want to see the government dumping money into it to get it ready for a developer, so I think this is a pretty good outcome," he said.

- Reporter Justin Post may be reached at Justin.post@lee.net or (406) 496-5572.

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