Up until about a year ago the historic A.C. Vasterling building at 407 Broadway was sitting dusty and empty. Some initial TLC was given to the building in 2012 by then owner Seymour Chilton and boutique owner Bridgett Kielhofner. After some renovations to the front retail section, Philanthropy, a women's boutique was opened in June of 2012.
Seymour had visions for the rest of the building, which stood with the majority still empty, unused and in need of an intense rehab, but he decided to sell the property instead.
Enter Cara Naeger and RJ Clements, a sister and brother duo, who run their family business, Clemco Development. Cara and RJ bought the building together 6 months ago, and hit the ground running with Architect, Rebecca Ward and major plans to overhaul the upper floors into luxury apartments aka Vasterling Suites.
If you've driven Broadway lately, you've probably noticed that the façade of Philanthropy is being restored, too. The building qualified for historic tax credits, so Cara and RJ decided to take advantage of the credits and to adhere to historic standards for the rehab with the help of Rebecca. One of the requirements was to remove the stucco façade and to restore the historic façade that still laid underneath - most likely dating back to 1923 when the building was remodeled from 2 stories to 3. (Pretty exciting for a history nerd like myself!)
I first met Cara about a month ago at Vasterling Suites in the midst of construction and clean up. She met me at the entrance with rushed enthusiasm and paint-stained jeans, and explained that they had to have construction finished in a matter of days for the first tenants arrival date - July 1st. We took a quick tour of the building going through studio apartment options, one bedrooms, artist suites and even a two bedroom so I could get a feel for the place. Historically, she said the building used to house a sausage shop, bowling alley and a rumored underground tavern.
I visited the Vasterling Suites again on Friday with some of the Old Town Cape crew to take photos of the freshly finished apartments. This time Cara and RJ both took us through the suites. RJ was enjoying the "day off" although we hardly believed he was taking a vacation day while on location. We were all so impressed with the slick work that Clemco Development did in just 6 months. The apartments are beautiful and trendy, and still have some neat, historic details in tact including charming trim throughout the building and original fire doors that now serve as industrial hallway decor.
This is Cara and RJ's first project downtown. They chose downtown and the historic rehab because they love downtown and wanted to contribute something great to the community. In our eyes they've more than accomplished that. More specifically they've created a truly unique living space for some very lucky tenants.
While so much has been accomplished there are still more plans for the property including an outdoor courtyard, fitness center and additional first floor apartments to name a few. We're really grateful to have another living option downtown, and to see a once vacant, historic structure returned to its shining glory.
If you're interested, apartments are still available for rent ranging from $590 - $990 depending on size and # of rooms. Several amenities are included, and they have the coolest washer and dryers in town - they text you when your laundry is done! Another fun perk is that tenants get 10% off at Philanthropy. Give the Vasterling Suites office number a call at 888.346.0543 and press 1 for Leasing Details. You can also check out the Micro Luxury Apartment here.
Author: Toni Eftink is a Project Manager at Element 74 where she leads custom web projects. She has a huge love for downtown Cape Girardeau and small businesses. You can find her on Google+ and Twitter.
Read more about this project on Rebecca Ward's blog, Uncovering the Past.