Proposed Flatiron development from 17th to 20th Streets and between St. Mary’s Avenue and Howard Street.

A structure built downtown nearly a century ago is to be restored to its heyday use — with street-level commercial bays and upper-level apartments.

Last it was open, the three-story Freiden building at 563 S. 18th St. housed a cigar shop and a small “superette” grocery.

The $2.38 million project is an early piece of the broader Flatiron District redevelopment plan currently on hold as Douglas County clarifies what will be built on a nearby block designated for new juvenile court-related offices and services.

Royce Maynard of Dicon Corp., who is part of the Flatiron Development team hoping to reinvigorate the neighborhood, said the Freiden project was far enough along that it will continue regardless. Work is to start within a month or two, he said. The city has allotted up to $250,000 in tax-increment financing.

Built in 1923, the building was named after John J. Freiden. Its future will be as about 2,000 square feet of commercial bays and 14 upper-level apartments.

“The idea is to take it back to where it was,” Maynard said.

Future plans for the district include a new mixed-use structure to be erected on a parking lot to the north of the Freiden.

The idea for the overall district stems from the earlier renovation of the iconic Flatiron building, Maynard said. Planning for that began about 2012, and renovation launched two years later. Maynard said his team was intrigued with the area, which has historic charm yet room for modern buildings and amenities.

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