Local Investors Revitalize Downtown

Local Investors Revitalize Downtown
By: Crystal Britt

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - If you've driven through downtown Cape Girardeau lately, you've probably noticed some changes, some in the form of new businesses. But, it's more than that. There's a new effort to make living downtown more attractive. 
Jason Coalter works a full-time job, but on the side the 28 year old helps run an investment business with his dad and a friend.
"I think we need to pay attention to what we already have and we need to grow on that as well," said Coalter.
Over the last eight years, Jason and his partners have purchased 100 homes.  They've completely renovated about 15.
"Started out at $5,000-$20,000 homes that are now $80,000-$120,000 homes," said Coalter. 
They start out with run down homes in dire need of repair. 
"We're going in and buying the worst houses in Cape Girardeau and tearing them down to the studs," he said. 
There's also an effort to add living spaces in the heart of downtown.
"It's amazing the interest that's being generated down here," said Realtor Jane Clark. 
Clark, with Century 21 Key Realty, says in recent months area investors bought the old Montgomery Ward building on Main Street.
"People remember this as to where they used to come shop." 
It now houses eight New York style condos. "They range from 968 to over 1200 square feet per unit," said Clark. 
Other developments like the upcoming Discovery Playhouse and the newly opened River Campus and to the living spaces.
"Nice to have a little ace in the hole that we didn't even ask for," said Coalter. 
They're pouring money into downtown for more than just a profit.  For many, like Jason Coalter, this is home and he wants a part of making it beautiful.
"We want to preserve some of that and bring some excitement and interest back to where Cape started downtown and south Cape," he said.

Coalter says his business can't do this alone. They need help and he welcomes the competition.  They're making a dent in a big project that he says won't get fixed unless more people jump on board.