New events center being constructed in former Northwood Lumber building

Currently stripped down to the bare bones, the inside of the nearly 120-year old building will become a new venue for weddings and parties

Posted: Dec 23, 2019 7:51 PM

NORTHWOOD, Iowa - What formerly housed lumber will soon be a place to hold parties.

The building that formerly housed Northwood Lumber on Central Avenue is currently undergoing a major renovation project to become a new events center.

Scott Madsen bought the building a few years ago, and initially had plans to demolish it.

"We were going to do something else with the property and then decided to take on this venture instead."

Currently stripped down to the bare bones, he and his partner Brian Kenison have been hard at work on the center for the last several months. When it's finished, it will soon feature two lofts connected by a walking bridge, a kitchen and bar, restrooms and dance floor. So far, the roof has been refinished.

"We've taken out...I don't know how many posts...then we put up new headers up above to hold the roof. We're just filling in new floor joists now."

The cool part? 

"We've taken a lot of parts out and switched them around to try to reuse everything that we could, where it was structurally sound."

City Council member Teresa George-Zenz has long been involved in Dowtown Northwood's facelift, and pointed to a time in the 1990s, when colorful graffiti was unearthed in a building that formerly housed a youth center before she opened a bar in the space.

"It was really cool graffiti though. Snoopy and Linus...back in the '60s. Good stuff on the walls.

Breathing new life into Northwood's older buildings like the lumberyard can be something special.

"The wood frame was in immaculate condition. There was no rot, no nothing. They felt if they tore it down, it would be a horrible thing."

The opening of the center will fill a bit of a void in terms of having a space available for events, and can help bring some money into the town.

"Right now, people go to Grafton, Kensett, all the barns around the area, the other venues. Everyone's going out of town. The fairgrounds is great, but there's no air conditioning and there's no heat, so we can't rent it out all the time."

The project is part of a partnership with Total United Northwood Effort, better known as TUNE, which aims to develop and revitalize downtown, and to promote Northwood, as well as fundraising to make it all happen.

Depending on funding and progress, Madsen anticipates the center to open in about a year.

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