Omaha Livestock Exchange Bldg. an example of what could be done in St. Joseph

Omaha's Livestock Exchange building, originally built in 1926, was in much the same deteriorated condition as St. Joseph's Livestock Exchange until millions of dollars of renovation work was completed.

Posted: Oct 21, 2019 11:00 PM
Updated: Oct 22, 2019 2:54 PM

(OMAHA, Neb.)Southside's Livestock Exchange building has sat vacant now for almost a decade and has gone into serious disrepair.

There's been much debate now as to if it can even be saved.

However, if the money and motivation were there, what could it look like?

For those considering the possibilities, they only need to look 120 miles northward to Omaha. Sitting south of downtown is a similar Livestock Exchange building. Omaha's building was built in 1926 and until about a decade ago was in much the same condition as its St. Joseph cousin.

"The building needed renovated. It needed gutted. Everything had very much been used. A lot of asbestos and lead remediation," said Joel Dougherty, COO of One World Community Health Centers, the current owners of the building.

$15 million later, with funding collected through a variety of local, state and federal tax credits, as well as a mortgage, the building is almost brand new again.

"Currently in the building, One World Community Health Centers has our medical, dental, and behavioral health care and a pharmacy," Dougherty said. "Then there are 102 low-income housing units. Half of those are one-bedroom, the other half is two-bedroom. Then there is a very nice catering and two ballrooms on the tenth floor."

It is estimated that around 1,000 people go in and out of the doors of the renovated Livestock Exchange building in Omaha every day. While it is now a 21st century medical facility and living space, those who work there appreciate the building's rich history.

"(We) talk to people who used to bring their cows in here back in the day or their dad or grandpa, the look on their faces when they come in and see that,  "A", the building still is standing, and, "B", that it really is still a home to good work. That's priceless," Dougherty said.

It appears as though the experience from Omaha would lead to many recommending that the St. Joseph Livestock Exchange building should also be saved if possible," Dougherty said.

"We are all really lucky to just pull up to it and work here every day," Dougherty said.

One World Community Health Centers is a Federally Qualified Health Center based at the Omaha Livestock Exchange building.

They bough the building from the developers of the renovation work last year.

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