(Joplin, MO) – The Olivia has new ownership as of February 24, 2021. Downtown Joplin Alliance (DJA) facilitated the transfer of the Olivia property from North Main Redevelopment, owner since 2017, to a new developer, Blue Haven Homes, a subsidiary of Bykota REI.
The Olivia, located a 320 S. Moffet Avenue, has been vacant since the mid-2000’s when it was deemed inhabitable by city codes. After going through several prospective developers and various ownership, the 1906 structure was suffering severe decline due to roof damage when the Downtown Joplin Alliance’s newly formed Endangered Properties Program Committee chose the Olivia as its first property of focus in the summer of 2020.
After a fire on December 7, the urgency became even greater. A report by Bob Campbell, LLC, a Kansas City structural engineering firm specializing in historic properties, showed the structure was intact, and the EPP Committee began working with community groups, interested parties, City of Joplin leadership, and prospective developers to find a path forward for the historic building.
Serving as a non-profit conduit, the organization was able to accept donation of the property, then transfer it, with restrictive covenants that require rehabilitation to the Secretary of the Interior Standard and ongoing maintenance of the property, to the Bykota REI group. In addition, the City was able to offer a reimbursement incentive of $250,000, which requires the developer to complete the roof by mid-June and have the total project completed by March 2023.
The project is the first of the Endangered Properties Program (EPP). Through the EPP committee, DJA can be proactive in making something happen with long vacant, underutilized, and distress properties. The program’s mission is centered around downtown’s historic buildings and finding adaptive reuse for them. The core of the program centers around a “revolving fund,” provided by a grant from the 1772 Foundation. The idea is that the organization will take neglected properties (either through donation or an option) and spend some time and money to assess its needs and best use (i.e. environmental assessment, structural assessment, architect’s renderings, feasibility study, etc.) to answer the unknown questions. After that, the property is marketed with the information amassed, including proposed use and any available tax credits and local incentives. Upon successfully finding a developer, the property is sold and the expenses are recouped from the sale to return to the revolving fund. Properties are sold with covenants attached that require development in a certain timeframe, that certain features and attributes be retained, or that it is developed for specific purposes.
DJA Executive Director, Lori Haun, says, “We are thrilled to have played a role in creating a path forward for the Olivia. With the City’s oversight and rehabilitation covenants attached to the deed, we feel the long awaited restoration of the Olivia is a win-win for the City, the neighborhood, and will happen in a timely manner.”
About Downtown Joplin Alliance:
The Downtown Joplin Alliance is 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to the revitalization of the downtown community as a thriving, safe and attractive center of art, history, enterprise, commerce, culture, residence, and entertainment. For more information, email email@example.com. Learn more about the Downtown Joplin Alliance at downtownjoplin.com.
Lori Haun, Executive Director
Downtown Joplin Alliance