The best show on the northeast corner of the square this week has been installation of new exterior staircases to upper-level housing initiative apartments now ready for occupancy on the second floors of Betty Hanson's Iowa Realty buildings and Jill Kerns' Piper's building. These stairs will be used to reach both Piper's apartments and two of four in the Iowa Realty buildings.
The original staircases were pulled recently and taken to Johnson Machine Works, where the new stairs were built, so that decorative elements from the old stairs could be incorporated into the new.
The original staircases could not be used because of the difficulties involved in welding new steel to their original iron, necessary modifications to provide safe access to the upper levels.
Once the apartments have been inspected and certificates of occupancy issued, tenants will be able to move in.
Some have been spoken for, and others not; anyone interested can contact Iowa Realty for details about Betty's four apartments or Jill, for details about hers. Work continues on four more apartments above the Demichelis building on the northwest corner of the square (all reached by an interior staircase).
Half of the 10 new apartments are intended for tenants of low to moderate income, but I'm not sure which is which. Owners I'm sure would be glad to share that information.