Written by Carole Gieseke – Chief Communications Officer, Iowa State University Alumni Association
Photography by Jim Heemstra
With a $32 million renovation, the 455,000-square-foot Mitchell Park Plaza was created from the historic Big Chief Tablet factory: 258 luxury apartments with huge windows and balconies, an indoor swimming pool, recreation center, rooftop garden, convenience store, and coffee shop.
Mitchell Park Plaza is just one of more than 20 buildings owned by Foutch Brothers in Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa – with more on the way. The company renovates historic schools, office buildings, and warehouses into apartment-style living spaces and other modern-day uses. But more than that, the brothers’ projects restore neighborhoods and invigorate communities.
“Some of these projects are very special,” says Shawn (’87 civil engineering). “There is a passion in these communities for saving their schools. It’s hard not to develop [your own] passion for these buildings.”
Steve (’88 architecture) and Scott (’86 farm operation & animal science) founded the company in 2004; Shawn joined them two years ago. The brothers, who grew up in Woodbine, Iowa, each brings his own skill set and area of expertise.
The business has its headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., but they “go where the buildings are” – from Leavenworth, Kan., to Shelby, Iowa.
“So many projects are coming at us now that we can be selective,” Steve says.
The story was written as part of the ISU Alumni Association’s 3-year VISIONS Across America project and first appeared here.