A local landmark, the former McGinty's Department Store, on the southwest corner of the square, may soon undergo major renovations and restoration.

A local landmark, the former McGinty's Department Store, on the southwest corner of the square, may soon undergo major renovations and restoration.
Building owner David Sims, Neosho, requested a 25-year tax abatement to enable the project to get under way. Sims spoke to members of the Neosho City Council during a public hearing regarding Sims' tax abatement application for the McGinty Building.
Sims' application requests a tax abatement in order for him to completely renovate and restore the McGinty Building, located at 101-103 East Main Street. Sims requested that the building be designated as “a blighted area” and to approve the abatement of real property taxes for the statutorily allowed period of 25 years.
Sims approached council during the public hearing.
"I've come before council many times," Sims, a local attorney, stared. "But never before in a personal capacity."
He spoke about the history of the building and shared his proposed plans.
"If you grew up in Neosho, you probably have memories from shopping in the McGinty building,” he said. “It seems like everybody I talk to has good memories of the McGinty building and certainly wants to to share their story whenever they talk to me about it."
According to Sims, the building was built in 1895 and became the McGinty Department Store in 1918. The building originally housed The Golden Eagle, also a department store. Founder A.C. McGinty first opened a department store in Neosho in 1904 and moved his business to what is now known as the McGinty building in 1918, 100 years ago.
"It was in operation under the name McGinty's Department Store for 83 years, closing in 2001," Sims said. "I think this building is a landmark in Neosho. I'm 41 years old and the older I get, the more I appreciate reminders of the past and this is certainly one of them. It (gives) the people from Neosho a sense of identity and there is a public interest in preserving this building, to keep Neosho from becoming strip malls and super centers. It's certainly a building that has some character. Unfortunately, the building is in poor condition right now. To put it in my terms, basically, we have some walls and floor over there. There isn't anything else that will be of any salvageable use."
According to Sims, without renovation and restoration, the future of the building is bleak. "It's really at that situation where if it gets any worse over there, it'll just have to be torn down."
Rather than lose a historically important building, Sims has major plans for the structure that includes six apartment units, 1 3-bedroom, 4 2-bedroom and 2 1-bedroom apartments. In addition, his plans call for the 2200 square foot ground floor level located at the Main Street entrance to become commercial space for offices or retail businesses.
"What I want to do is completely renovate the building and I want to do that renovation according to historic preservation office guidelines, hopefully to qualify for state historic tax credits," Sims told the council.
Sims has consulted Jeff Neal, an expert on historic structures for guidance on restoration. "It's going to be really nice. I want to completely restore the front, replace the cornice that was probably taken off in the 1950's, strip the paint off the bricks and take it back to its' original red brick color," he said.
But, Sims stated he needs council approval of a tax abatement to proceed. "The problem with the plan is without tax abatement, the project doesn't cash flow well and is not a good investment. It's going to require not only tax abatement but historic tax credits, which I am applying for. If either of those don't work, the project is not going to be able to move forward."
The tax abatement means the taxes will remain at the present level, based on the purchase price of the building. Council Carmin Allen shared his support. "I like it. I want to sell our city. I'm very supportive of anyone who wants to improve Neosho."
The council approved the bill to provide Sims with a 25-year tax abatement for the project. Mayor Ben Baker abstained from voting due to a conflict of interest.
Sims' time line for completion is approximately 12 months from start to finish. Approval for  the historic tax credits takes about 90 days. If the necessary approvals are in place, Sims estimated if he receives the tax abatement and historic tax credits, the restoration and renovation process could begin by late July or August 2018, placing the projected completion to be in the summer of 2019.
"I think it's good," Sims said about the McGinty building project. "I think it's good for everyone. I'm excited and I want you all to be excited too."