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New downtown Mitchell loft put on display

Whitney Clarke shows her father-in-law, John Clarke, of Mitchell, the finished master bedroom brick wall that looks onto Main Street in downtown Mitchell before a showing of the apartment Thursday night. Whitney and her husband, Steve Clarke, started the renovations on the apartment, which was built in 1886, in June and plan to be finished by the end of September. The one-bedroom, 1,400-square-foot apartment is expected to be rented for $750. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)

A former vacant storage space on Mitchell’s Main Street is now a cozy downtown loft.

Property owner Steve Clarke, who showed off the property at an open house Thursday, began remodeling the upper story living space at 214 N. Main in June, and said he hopes his project ignites a desire in other property owners in the downtown district to do the same.

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“It was something that we were thinking about doing for a long time,” Clarke said in a news release from Mitchell Main Street & Beyond, a downtown advocacy group. “First, we knew there was a housing shortage in Mitchell, so we knew something like this was needed. Second, we were excited to bring some life back into the building, and restore some of the character and history that the building had.”

Clarke said he wanted to keep as much of the original space intact as he could.

He was able to refurbish the original wood floors, trim, doors and even part of a wall that had truck lettering stickers from the 1950s. Some of the original brick is exposed, as well.

Clarke is not alone in his restoration. Currently, a space above The City Salon and Spa, which was featured during Mitchell Main Street & Beyond’s Upstairs Downtown Tour, is being revamped for future living.

Clarke said projects like his and the one above the downtown salon are important because they add traffic to Main Street.

“These kinds of projects can really change the overall look and feel of downtown,” Clarke said. “The biggest plus of doing something like this is the updating and repairs that are done to these historical properties. Also by doing this, it will add many years of life to these buildings.” Clarke added that he hopes property owners will consider projects like his in the future. “The numbers have to work,” he said. “You have to really feel passionate about restoring your building, and preserving the history of your building. It may be expensive right away, but long term I believe it is the right move.”

— From a Mitchell Main Street & Beyond news release