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Coffee shop to replace razed historic building in Rapid City

RAPID CITY (AP) -- A 5,200-square-foot historic building that dates back to 1914 has been torn down to make way for a new coffee shop in Rapid City. Earlier this month, demolition crews reduced the building to a pile of splintered wood, shattered...

RAPID CITY (AP) - A 5,200-square-foot historic building that dates back to 1914 has been torn down to make way for a new coffee shop in Rapid City.

Earlier this month, demolition crews reduced the building to a pile of splintered wood, shattered glass, insulation and other debris, the Rapid City Journal ( http://bit.ly/1reaUUi ) reported. The property on a highly visible street corner along a busy city thoroughfare is now undergoing a $24 million reconstruction.

Property owner Arlene Ham declined to release other details for the redevelopment. She said the potential renters want to wait to make an announcement concerning the property's future.

"I would hope in the next couple of weeks," she said of the owner's timetable for releasing more details.

On May 16, the Rapid City Common Council approved a request by Ham's venture, Ham Investments, LLC, to change the property's zoning from Central Business District to General Commercial.

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The owners requested the zoning change because they plan to add a drive-through lane for the coffee shop, according to council minutes.

Drive-through lanes aren't permitted under Central Business District covenants, but are allowed under General Commercial zoning rules.

Architect Fred Thurston of Rapid City said he's disappointed with the demolition. Although the structure wasn't within the boundaries of the central downtown historic district, nor was it listed on the National Register of Historic Places, he said "it still had value as a historic building."

For nine years, Pearl Krush operated Pearl Louise Design and Thimble Cottage, catering to the needs of quilters, out of the historic building. She said her business was situated on "a beautiful corner and the building was so charming."

"Oh, well," Krush said. "It's time to move on."

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