BizBeat: Five downtown tenants losing leases

Former JC Penney’s building may be in line for new owner, remodeling

Josh Betts receives a hair cut and beard trimming from Ameir Smith, a barber at Backstage Barbers at 210 High
St. in downtown Jefferson City. The barbershop and other businesses in the building were recently informed by their landlord that their leases would not continue after the end of this month.

Josh Betts receives a hair cut and beard trimming from Ameir Smith, a barber at Backstage Barbers at 210 High St. in downtown Jefferson City. The barbershop and other businesses in the building were recently informed by their landlord that their leases would not continue after the end of this month. Photo by Julie Smith.

The retail building at 210 E. High St. that anchored the downtown Jefferson City shopping district several decades ago is about to lose the last of its shops.

Hawthorn Bank, which manages the trust that owns the building, has told the five tenants in the building that their leases will expire at the end of the month.

Dan Renfrow, Hawthorn’s senior trust officer, said the bank doesn’t yet have a purchaser for the property. But he said it is in talks with an interested party who might want to remodel the building and would want it vacant.

The tenants, meanwhile, are scrambling to find new homes.

Jeff Backus, owner of One Stop Office Supplies, said he “has a few ideas” about where to move to, but hasn’t finalized anything yet. Since he uses the location as storage, not a storefront, it isn’t affecting him as much as the other tenants.

Backus accepts overnight deliveries from his suppliers at the location, then delivers them to his customers at their offices.

Ellen Nyatanga, owner of Ellen’s Bridal & Alterations, said she’ll be doing her sewing at home until she can find a new location.

Backstage Barbers owner Katherine Wakefield is angry that she was only given six weeks to move. That’s not enough time to find a new location, which she estimates would cost $4,000.

“My eight years in business may have to come to an end. And that’s sad,” she said.

Still, she’s hopeful that she can find a new location and stay in business.

The other tenants are Capital Tattoo Co., which didn’t return a call from the News Tribune, and The Cutting Room.

Hawthorn took over the trust after owner David L. Bryan died in March 2013.

The building contains 35,648 square feet of gross space, including 17,735 square feet of finished space, Renfrow said.

Now named “Downtown Mall Offices & Retail,” the building once housed JC Penney until it moved to Capital Mall after it opened in 1978.

“It’s just a wonderful diamond in the rough,” said Sam Bushman, a longtime downtown retailer and owner of Samuel’s Tuxedos.

He said the building has lots of potential for mixed retail, such as shops and restaurants on the first two floors and loft apartments on the third floor.

“There’s so much potential there,” he said. “Unfortunately, it’s just going to take a lot of money to restore it.”

The four-story building is being listed for $399,000 on showcase.com.

Know of any business happenings around town? Let us know at bizbeat@newstribune.com.

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