RANCHESTER — As Ranchester’s Main Street Mercantile nears substantial completion, officials hope the building draws three businesses into the heart of the town while promoting economic growth.
Town Engineer Chris Johnson reported Wednesday the mercantile is 90 percent complete. The contractor, Sheridan-based Ace Builders, only needs to finish up small jobs like paint touchup and firing up furnaces. Johnson expects the building to be move-in ready around Jan. 1.
The town has not secured any tenants, although three or four businesses have shown interest. Mayor Peter Clark thinks curiosity could turn into commitments once people see the finished product.
“It’s spectacular. We think it looks really good,” he said. “Everybody that’s walked through there, especially toward the end of construction, said it’s a really nice space. It really is very attractive and quite dramatic once you get inside.”
Clark said town representatives would like to see at least one professional type of business — such as a doctor or dentist office — and retail shops move in.
“We kind of built it generically because we didn’t have any real, hard tenants,” Clark said. “You’ve got to make some investment in it on your own. But the rent is really reasonable. It’s a good location. It’s just going to take time to get the right tenants in there.”
The roughly $1 million, 6,300-square-foot mercantile sits at the corner of Main Street and U.S. Highway 14 across the street from the town’s information center. It features two approximately 1,600-square-foot spaces and another that comes to about 2,000 square feet.
The outside includes a 15,000-square-foot parking lot with 30 spaces, as well as a 6,000-square-foot outdoor farmers market space with a canopy covering.
Johnson said the town plans to spruce up the property with landscaping. Ranchester will solicit bids for this portion of the project in the coming months.
In January 2014, the State Loan and Investment Board approved a $977,500 Wyoming Business Council Community Readiness grant for the project. The Ranchester Town Council awarded the construction bid to Ace Builders for a little over $1 million at its meeting on Feb. 17. Dale Buckingham Architects, LLC’s Ben Reeves served as lead on the mercantile’s design.