A building auctioned at the Louisiana City Hall next week could be the next step in the revival of downtown.
Mark Dever and Jeannine Kelly of Godfrey, Ill., bought the Hodges Building at 401 Georgia St. for $1,250 from the city on Friday, Aug. 23.
The city was selling the building that was deeded to them to escape the liability and in hopes that someone like the Illinois couple would buy and renovate it.
The building on the corner of Georgia and Fourth streets once housed the Sportsmen’s Lounge and Strothers Jewelry Store.
Auctioneer Bill Ringhausen took bids from several prospective buyers before the Illinois couple won out.
Dever and Kelly own several old buildings in Illinois they are rehabbing, including one in the town they work in, Alton.
The couple was traveling to Clarksville last year when they came over the Champ Clark Bridge and saw Louisiana.
“We drove into town and just fell in love with it,” Dever said.
“I said, ‘Oh my God, I love this,’ ” Kelly said. “The buildings are so beautiful.”
They soon bought a home in Louisiana they hope to retire to.
The couple said they were inspired to buy the Hodges Building after seeing the old Conboy Building torn down in the 300 block of Georgia Street.
If the Hodges Building passes an independent structural review and the sale is finalized, Jennine Kelly wants to refurbish the structure.
“I want to bring people in for the economic climate,” she said.
She envisions artists living in the upstairs of the building that can work on and sell their wares in a shop on the first floor.
“I want to be here to do whatever we can to help promote the town,” Kelly said.
If the couple’s dreams come true, they will join two other building owners who have recently purchased deteriorating structures downtown with an eye on the future.
Doug and Lynn Dempsey bought the old Moss Building on the south side of Georgia Street in the 300 block.
Doug Dempsey told the Press-Journal last week he hopes to open a sports-themed facility there in the future. The Dempseys also purchased the vacant lot next door from the city and plan to turn it into a parking lot.
Tim Carter purchased another building on the north side of Georgia Street in the 300 block that currently houses The Robbyn’s Nest gift shop, with housing upstairs. Carter is also rehabilitating the vacant lot next door that used to be home to the now demolished Conboy and Rexall buildings.