One of Springfield’s most divisive properties could finally get a new lease on life beginning next week. The Dalmark Group, a real estate development company based in Lees Summit, announced a public groundbreaking ceremony set for noon on Friday, June 20 to begin work on turning the city’s downtown Heers building into commercial and residential space. Heer’s Luxury Living LLC, as Dalmark is calling the project, is expected to cost more than $15 million to complete.
The Heer’s building has been a Park Central Square landmark since opening in 1915, but the Heer’s department store it housed filed for bankruptcy in 1990 and closed for good in 1995. Described by city officials as “a game-changer” for the development of downtown Springfield, the building has resisted talk of hazardous conditions and demolition despite its lack of occupants or upkeep for almost two decades. Previous revitalization plans, the most recent brought forth by St. Louis developer Kevin McGowan in 2010, have all collapsed.