Editorial: Lea Center project good for downtown

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 17, 2005

It’s been a big project that’s taken years to put together, but the Lea Center rehabilitation project is becoming a reality.

Apartments, a commercial and retail center, and an inside parking facility are becoming part of the 1916 historic building by MetroPlains Development, LLC, thanks to more than $5.5 million in funding from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, and the city of Albert Lea. Local contributors include Albert Lea Port Authority, Greater Jobs Inc., and Albert Lea and Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce.

This is exciting and we commend those agencies involved in the project. They saw and understood the value of preserving this historic building and community landmark

Email newsletter signup

A lot of planning went into doing the project right. The outside of the building and the interior &045; hallways, corridors, windows &045;

have all been historically restored. The windows are re-manufactured as thermal pane but their appearance is historically correct.

It’s doubly exciting because it will be a cornerstone to efforts to promote the downtown area.

The restoration of the downtown is extremely important because it remains the core of the community. The renovation brings 37 apartments to downtown and it brings that first floor of commercial space, so that brings people who have a reason to be downtown. People are needed for a downtown to be active.

This is an important start for the community and we hope this project will start the ball rolling for projects in the near future.