January 14, 2022

POCATELLO — An iconic downtown Pocatello building that housed a furniture warehouse for over 70 years and then a popular outdoor apparel store is expected to reopen as a multi-use facility near the end of the first quarter.

Craig Yadon and his wife Mariya are nearing the end of a $1.5 million renovation of the former Petersen’s Furniture Building at 224 N. Main St. and are anxious to announce the long-vacant building will soon house a two-story event center, two floors of premier office space and a luxury penthouse vacation rental.

“We are definitely excited about what this building could become,” Yadon said. “We know people will love the place, but to actually land some tenants is another story so we are feeling a mixed-bag of excitement and some tension.”

Built in 1914 and constructed of cream-colored brick, the Petersen’s Building’s façade is graced by a massive denticulated cornice. Originally owned by T.C. Martin, this building housed Petersen Furniture from 1921 to the late 1990s and then Scott’s Ski and Sports until 2010.

Yadon acquired the building in late 2019 for about $325,000. Since then, he’s encountered numerous delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including about a 12-month return of the architectural plans from another downtown Pocatello business, Myers Anderson Architects. Yadon said Myers Anderson was inundated with projects at the time he purchased the building and was understanding of their schedule.

Craig Yadon stands in front of the stained glass windows installed in what will become the Purpose Building when it reopens at the end of the first quarter.  Shelbie Harris/Idaho State Journal

Additionally, the estimated turnaround time to restore the stained-glass windows on the front façade of the building was about 12 weeks, said Yadon, adding that it was about a year before they were finished. Yadon worked with Hoefer Custom Stained Glass in South Hutchinson, Kansas, to have the windows restored.

The stained-glass windows include a large “P” in the center leftover from its days as the Petersen building. To maintain their significance, the building will now be known as the Purpose Building, Yadon said.

Renovating a building located in a Historic Downtown Preservation District is a massive undertaking, Yadon said. Working with the city’s Historic Preservation Commission to maintain the building’s historical attributes has been both a costly and cumbersome process, Yadon said.

Last week, Historic Downtown Pocatello Inc. presented a master development plan for downtown Pocatello to the City Council during a work session. The plan provides a foundational framework for downtown success as well as goals and strategies to implement the vision.

The plan highlights the need to implement clear policies that inform and allow for collaboration with downtown property owners regarding historic preservation standards, funding opportunities and available incentives when rehabilitating downtown buildings.

Yadon said he has reviewed the plan and he believes the Purpose Building is a perfect fit for what Downtown Pocatello Inc. leaders are hopeful for when it comes to the area’s future, adding that he’s hopeful he’ll qualify for additional incentives. One incentive Yadon has applied for and is hopeful to receive is a property tax exemption from Bannock County for the first five years.

Dozens of various subcontracting groups have worked tirelessly over the past two-plus years to transform the Petersen Building into the Purpose Building, Yadon said.

Subcontractors working to finish the $1.5 million renovation of the former Petersen’s Furniture Building, which will become the Purpose Building when it reopens at the end of the first quarter. Shelbie Harris/Idaho State Journal

The interior stairwell from the second floor was not close enough to the front or back entrance that two separate stairways had to be created to meet certain city codes. The stairwells at the ground level now have independent entrance ways that provide separate access to the third through fifth floors so that permanent tenants have a different entrance than those using the event center.

Also, workers had to dig the elevator shaft an additional 7-plus feet and encountered massive boulders that they had to drill and break apart, Yadon said.

Much of the building’s original interior woodwork will be retained, including the spindle balusters on the original staircase and among the rails of the second floor looking out into the mezzanine, Yadon said. In numerous locations throughout the building Yadon made sure to leave some of the original brickwork exposed to bolster the building’s new modern-industrial look and feel.

The plan for the Purpose building is to dedicate the first and second floor for use as an event center, Yadon said.

“I am thinking about recitals for children, rotary events, weddings, anniversaries and business parties,” Yadon said. “I want to include multi-generational events that attract older and younger crowds. I am thinking we can find some common ground with some art and music events. It would be nice to feature some young people with their music during the First Friday Art Walks. I envision a dinner setup on the second floor while a performance happens on the ground level.”

The third and fourth floors have very open floor plans that Yadon plans to dedicate for premier office space. Anyone interested in touring the available space can contact Yadon directly through his business Yadon Properties at yadonprop@gmail.com.

“Our thought is it would be great to see an accounting or law firm come in here with either a plan to install cubicles or to construct actual dividing walls,” Yadon said. “I don’t envision numerous tenants or a call center going in here, but we will consider all applications.”

The building’s fifth floor, which provides a birds-eye view of the neon glow from the restored Chief Theater sign, will house a luxury vacation rental. The floor will be divided into two separate rentals, which Yadon said could be reserved independently or together for larger gatherings.

Purpose Building (penthouse with exposed rafters)
The fifth-floor of what will become the Purpose Building when it opens at the end of the first quarter. Owner Craig Yadon insulated the roof above the rafters, which he left exposed, to add to the rustic, yet elegant look.

The space on the west side of the fifth floor will feature two bedrooms, a full kitchen, a bathroom, a living room area and laundry room. The eastern space is much larger, with six bedrooms, a large gaming area complete with both a pool and ping-pong table. The eastern space will also include a child playroom, a full kitchen with an island, bunk rooms for the grandchildren and a cozy fireplace.

“We designed the vacation rental with the idea of providing a place for large family gatherings,” Yadon said. “For me, I can’t fit my entire family in my house so we will usually go rent a big house in Rigby or something and the thought is that other local families may have that issue. So we imagine a space where you can host a wedding on the first and second floors and the wedding party could stay on the fifth floor.”

Yadon said he insulated the roof above the rafters, which he left exposed, to add to the rustic, yet elegant look.

While Mariya will assist in furnishing and decorating the interior on the first, second and fifth floors, the third and fourth floors will remain open and unfurnished to accommodate the plans of future tenants, Yadon added.

Though the process of restoring the 100-year-old building hasn’t been painless, Yadon said he is counting down the days until the Gate City community can enjoy what the Purpose building has to offer.

“Time will tell,” Yadon said. “But we are looking forward to what the future holds.”

This article first appeared in the Idaho State Journal

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