A Possible New Future for the Pulaski Franciscan Publishing Building

This Wednesday, the UW-Extension and Redevelopment Resources had the pleasure of facilitating two meetings to discuss the future use of the Franciscan Publishing Building in the heart of downtown Pulaski. A lunch hour facilitated session of invited officials and stakeholders, as well as about half a dozen religious leaders from the local Franciscan group toured the 75+ year old building and discussed potential future uses.

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The 65,000 SF facility consists of a four story ‘old building’ (including the basement, constructed 1941) and a one story ‘new building’ (two stories, including basement, constructed 1960s) which is attached along the first floor and basement level. The building was originally used as a storage and manufacturing center for print work, with the basement and first floor built as production and warehouse facilities. Second and third floor uses consisted of offices and dormitories. The building has, as they say, ‘great bones’ – and the Pulaski and Franciscan communities are eager to see it adapted into a new use. With an estimated demolition cost of over $400,000 – demolition is a huge potential cost burden, and the community would much rather see the building put into community use. The central, downtown location offers a wide range of possibilities.

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A large variety of ideas were generated at the Wednesday meetings, everything ranging from youth-centered uses (such as a bowling alley, youth center, daycare or game room – to senior uses such as a senior center, senior housing, and a wide range of public and private community uses such as a cultural center, museum, indoor farm, non-profit office space, co working space or a variety of retail / destination businesses, such as a coffee shop, makerspace or microbrewery). Some of the group’s most popular ideas included a brewpub, home to the local historical society, expanded library branch, bowling alley, indoor farm/fishery/greenhouse, technology boot camp, technical college classroom space, arts center, and mixed meeting/office space for community organizations. With 65,000 SF of space available in the building, it is likely that the final use could be a mix of any of these tenancies.

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The building is not able to be sold by the Franciscans, but there is an ability to sign long-term leases. The next steps in this process consist of Redevelopment Resources and UW-Extension meeting with the Franciscans to see which of these potential these uses align positively with Franciscan values such as the environment, children and community. From there, there is the opportunity to seek grant dollars and funding resources which would be needed to rehabilitate the building, as well as making contact with potential developers. Estimates on building rehabilitation vary widely, as different uses require varying build outs and levels of accessibility. Being that the building was constructed in the early 1940s, it is not ADA compatible at present.

More updates to come as the conversation surrounding this facility progresses.

See more pictures of the facilitation session and the historic building here