City commissioners have scheduled Jan. 7 public hearing regarding hiring an engineering firm to assess the costs and practicality of rehabilitation the former Morton House Kitchens complex in Nebraska City.
The 6 p.m. hearing at city hall regards a proposal to use $89,600 of the city's LB840 funds to analyze the building structures, its compliance with modern building codes and its storm water drainage.
Stephanie Shrader, director of Nebraska City Area Economic Development Corporation, said the study is an eligible use under the city's Economic Development Plan because it has potential to create jobs.
"It provides us a building for industrial use and we currently don't have one," she said.
"Last year, during the flood, we had a company interested in setting up operations here but we did not have a space for them," she said.
She said the complex includes 13 buildings, including 11 that are in the main complex seen from the 11th Street complex. Buildings range in size from 4,500 square feet to 18,000 square feet.
"Becuase of the uniqueness of this building and the complex of multiple-sized buildings, it gives us the flexibility of working with smaller and mid-sized companies," Shrader said.
She said her office is currently working with two companies interested in space that the complex might provide.
She said it appears that at least two of the 13 buildings are beyond repair, including structures that were built over south 10th Street.
The original buildings were built near 11th Street and construction continued eastward as the factory grew. Structures were built on the east side of south 10th Street and then, perhaps in the late 1930s, buildings filled in on top of 10th Street.
Shrader said those buildings need to be removed.
She said the code study will examine necessities such as exits every 75 feet.
The city has already received bids on upgrading the building to meet fire codes.
In March, city commissioners agreed to delay condemnation proceedings against buildings pending an engineer report. Building Inspector Alan Viox said there were four buildings in need of immediate repair.
The property at 1009 Seventh Corso isowned by James Gng and Lincoln Branch.
Lipton bought Morton-House Kitchens in 1966 and closed it in 1982. Gerking purchased it in 1998.