September 5th, 2017
Robert Lemley is so ready to complete a top-to-bottom renovation of the historic central Rapid City building named for his grandfather.
The Landstrom's Building, an imposing brick structure located in the narrow isthmus separating east and west Rapid City known as The Gap, is being reborn as a community business complex known as Landstrom's The Gap in Rapid City.
"I can't wait to get done and get the businesses in there," said Lemley, a doctor from Bozeman, Mont., but with strong local ties to Rapid City because of his grandfather, Ivan Landstrom.
Months of planning and construction are transforming the 94-year-old former electrical power plant and gold manufacturing company into a business collective and community gathering spot designed to continue the transformation of city's central core.
The $1 million project, slated for completion in November, includes a 2,000 square-foot addition on the west end of the structure and complete renovation of the interior, including re-opening massive vertical windows that are part of the original design.
Tenants signed up for the building include a financial investment firm, a La Tinga Taco Bar and Betty's Quiltery.
Dunn Bros. Coffee will also be leaving its longtime location near the intersection of Omaha Street and Mount Rushmore Road.
Rapid City Dunn Bros. franchise owner Diane O'Connor said the move will give the coffee shop improved parking and drive-through customer access from two nearby major traffic arteries, West Main Street and Omaha Street, along with a patio area.
O'Connor hopes to be roasting beans and pouring coffee by early October in the new location, whose renovation is covered by a separate $175,774 building permit, according to county records.
She also brought in an executive chef to train her staff with plans to add new breakfast and lunch offerings as well.
There is a long list of advantages for moving, O'Connor said.
"Oh, wow," she said. "Just to be a part of the renovation and revitalizing that little pocket there, being close to Founder's Park in a space that's more accessible in multiple directions, more parking, safer drive-through, a chance for a patio area, (there are) so many things," she said.
Lemley said a craft beer microbrewery has also been signed up for the building but wouldn't divulge any further information.
"I'm bound by a confidentiality agreement," he said.
The coffee shop, microbrewery and restaurant are anchoring his plans for a retail, social and professional business collective.
The tenants so far are willing, Lemley said, to compliment each other's enterprises.
Dunn Bros. is exploring the possibility of supplying cold brew beans for a coffee stout for the brewery. The Taco Bar hopes to sell tacos through the brewery. The brewery hopes to sell beer though the restaurant, Lemley said.
Dunn Bros. also gets calls for meeting rooms which they can give to the collective to rent out if people need a space to hold a meeting.
"It's this nice little community coming together in perfect form," Lemley said.
Also awaiting completion of construction is Betty Opp, owner of Betty's Quiltery, now located on Mount Rushmore Road.
Opp has been dealing with the years-long rebuild of Mount Rushmore Road (8th Street) and the reconstruction of the Landstrom's Building.
The space for her quilting shop in the new location will be 2,500 square feet, up from about 2,000 square feet in her current location.
"It's a little bigger and it's a better location," Opp said. "Being on 8th Street the last three years hasn't been a lot of fun."
Black Hills Power & Light erected the brick building as a power plant in 1923.
The building's eventual namesake was Rapid City jeweler and businessman Ivan Landstrom, who perished in a March 1968 crash of his private plane, which also took the lives of his wife and daughter and five other Rapid City Central High School cheerleaders and their advisor returning from the Class A state basketball tournament.
The company started by Landstrom purchased the building in 1974 for a Black Hills gold jewelry manufacturing facility. The building was home to Landstrom's Black Hills Gold Creations until 2014 when Riddle's Jewelry purchased the company's assets.
In 2016, Lemley formed Landstrom's Golden Creations, a limited liability corporation, and announced plans to revitalize the building at 405 Canal St.
"I own the Landstrom's name, and I'm trying to improve on the legacy," he said.
The building's redesign is by Patri Acevedo of JLG/AcV2 Architecture, working with contractor MAC Construction of Rapid City.
The design includes a courtyard on the west side. The east side of the building slated for the microbrewery includes garage-style doors opening up to a large patio.
"The interior is absolutely beautiful and screams a brewery. It's a just a magnificent building now that the windows are starting to be installed. It has this industrial look with a very contemporary flair," he said.
Lemley said the addition on the west side of the building will be complete in about a month, with the renovation on the east side complete about a month after that.
Only a few openings remain for tenants, he said.
"I really just wanted a place to gather where people can be seen and a collective of businesses that are not dependent on each other, but can be a draw just by association. It's a wonderful location, and it's just going to revitalize the whole Gap district," he said.