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Historic renovation moving forward for long empty storefront in downtown La Crosse



A likely move forward for another historic building restoration in downtown La Crosse.

Thursday, the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission is expected to cast an easy yes vote on a plan to restore a long-neglected 19th-century building on State Street to its original exterior.

“Whenever anybody wants to restore a building and a storefront back to the way it used to look,” Tim Acklin, in the city’s planning office, said, “and take off all the inappropriate materials in the front of it, that’s always a win and always a positive thing. That’s just going to continue to add to our downtown.”

The Thill and Lapitz building at 514 State was built some time in the 1890s. Owners plan to restore the facade and the interior.

The project comes after several surrounding buildings have also gone through some restoration, which may have something to do with it, says Tim Acklin, in the city’s planning office

“So there’s a lot of buildings around there that kind of got a facelift and an improvement,” Acklin said. “So, it just sort of crept up to, ‘Hey, I think I need to do something with my building.’

“At least that’s my impression with how I think it worked.”

Acklin added that, while historic renovation seems challenging, projects are often aided by grants and tax credits. It’s unclear at this point how much owners plan to spend to restore the building.

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