The city also reserved $100,000 in the 2013-2014 fiscal year to offer incentives to new owners. They can earn up to $4,500 for rebuilding structures built before 2000 that are no more than 25,000 square feet.
Projects have taken off as a result, Lanning said.
“It’s grown so much because people really love funky old buildings,” Lanning said.
In the project’s first year, nine city buildings were transformed into new businesses. In 2013, there were 48.
Among these was a 53,000-square-foot uptown motorcycle garage and dealership converted to a complex of restaurants.
Projects like these aren’t easy and can cost a lot of money, but they are worth it, Lanning said. Adaptive reuse encourages community involvement and keeps people civically engaged, she added.
“People feel connected to that place more than boring buildings that look the same,” Lanning said.