The plans for the old Pacific Fruit and Produce Co. building are exciting and, for Casper's downtown, full of fresh ideas.
Here now is a welcome justification for Casper's extensive rework plans centered around the Old Yellowstone District, which included the city's purchase of the old warehouse in 2012.
We're glad to see the plans in the works, developed by Midwest Urban Development owned by partners Art and Lynnette Boatright and John and Lauren Griffith. Their vision is just what Casper's downtown needs: a new look at old things -- one that defies those who would see the old torn down and built over.
Such renovations might not be a shock to anyone who's spent time in revitalized downtowns elsewhere, including Denver's LoDo district. But they're new here and offer a future for old buildings clustered around the city's core.
Sure, the Pacific Fruit location is just one building. But it's an encouraging start and one that echoes an eye-catching restoration a few blocks away at the corner of Collins and Center streets.
There, bit by bit, architect Lyle Murtha transformed the rundown 97-year-old Chicago and North Western Rail building into a renovated example of downtown possibility. Murtha gutted the building, removing decades of bad interior decorating decisions, and gave the building an urban warehouse vibe by working with the original structure.
Murtha tells of working on the building's outside and catching drive-by shouts telling him to just tear the building down. But Murtha persevered and now gets compliments from people who walk in to thank him for preserving the old building.
Murtha's work on the building justifiably won him work on the old Pacific Fruit building. His work, and the plans from the Boatrights and Griffiths to transform the Pacific Fruit building, might only be steps in the right direction, but they're giant leaps toward a more vibrant Casper downtown.