Boeyes chosen for Red Oak community catalyst application

A Red Oak family has big plans for two buildings just off the Red Oak downtown square.
The two buildings, 412 and 414 E. Coolbaugh St., are owned by Beau and Anna Boeye. The young couple made the unusual decision to purchase the two buildings and restore them into two downstairs store fronts with an upstairs apartment to lease out to future tenants.
The Red Oak Downtown Urban Renewal Board made a recommendation to the Red Oak City Council to submit the buildings on an application for a $100,000 Community Catalyst Grant. The council approved that recommendation at its Sept. 19 meeting.
Beau Boeye said that prior to meeting his wife Anna, he had an entirely different plan in mind for a home.
“I had purchased some land here in town, which has become our garden property. My initial plan was to build a home out there, when I was in my minimalist mindset, like converting a mini-barn into a tiny house. I was working with Stanton Schools at that time, and the community wanted to recruit me, and told me they had some buildings available,” Boeye said. “I did entertain the location where the Fika Coffee Hus is now, and I knew the previous owner and toured the building, but I’ve always been pro-Red Oak, and so I wanted to keep my roots here.”
Beau said shortly after that, he met Anna, the two fell in love, and Anna said they both fell in love with the idea of renovating buildings on the Red Oak square.
“I was working at my dad’s cafe at the time, and I loved the idea of having my own coffee shop, and I told that to the regular coffee drinkers. Zeb McFarland told me that his parents, Dave and Roxanne McFarland, had buildings they might be interested in selling. I connected with them, and they really liked our spirit and offered us the buildings with a really low down-payment, which was very helpful because we were both very young,” commented Anna.
Beau said that the renovations projects for the buildings are quite extensive, and while admitting that they should have been a bit more thorough before diving in, they still went for it.
“It’s been a land contract, so it was easy to acquire it and get in the door. It also came with some DUR money attached to it for the facade that wasn’t spent by the previous owners, so we took advantage of that early on. We’ve got a whole new storefront, which was quite the transformation from what it used to look like. There’s still some work to complete. So far, we estimate we’ve spent as much as what we’ve bought the buildings for in renovations, and we’re not even close to being finished with them,” advised Beau.
The Boeye family, including son Adler, who turns 3 this month, and Judah, who is less than a year old, live in the apartments in the buildings.
Anna is the named owner on 412 E. Coolbaugh, and Beau on 414 E. Coolbaugh. Each building had a separate apartments before the Boeye’s consolidated.
“We initially lived in the upstairs as it was, as the apartment above 412 was move-in ready, but when we started having kids, we tore some walls down, and made it a bit more livable. It still needs some more improvements though,” Anna commented.
The Boeyes also renovated the unique courtyard space in the upstairs of the building, including new siding.
“We did a complete revamp of what that space was. It’s quite unique. It’s an exposed courtyard section on the second floor, so you’re able to step outside the windows and you’re right outside,” stated Boeye.
In the downstairs portion of the buildings, they have been concentrating on demolition work, and there is still more work to be done, such as removing the existing tin ceiling.
“Due to fire codes, it was a requirement to tear down the tin ceiling. In the future, we will turn the upstairs into rentals, so it’s a requirement to have a one hour rated fire barrier. Depending on how difficult it is to remove the tin ceiling will determine what we do with it from there. Everyone likes it, and we do too. Some spots are better than others, but the cost of things is a factor in decisions, and energy efficiency is another huge factor. We’ll have to see if we can replace it,” Beau said.
Most of the work so far has been completed by the Boeye’s themselves, with assistance from Anna’s father. Boeye said they are now looking for outside contractors to advance the project further.
“We’re looking at working with Sellers Construction for the renovations. The demo stuff we have been able to do ourselves, but our growing family has put a halt on things. When it was just Anna and I, we could spend time getting things done, but then Adler came along, and the pandemic hit, and then Judah came along, so having outside contractors will be essential,” Boeye commented.
When the boys get older, Anna plans to open a small coffee shop that has a synergy with their garden property, so she can grow things to serve at the coffee shop. Until then, Beau said they have a goal in mind for both locations.
“On Anna’s side, I’m planning to use that for my tech business. It would have a front space that we could utilize for meetings. It will have a nice audio and visual set up that can be rented. The rest of the space, clients can come in and I can work on computers and do some consulting and have a small-scale coffee bar,” Boeye said. “ “At 414, I’d like to use the space for my father, Bob Boeye’s, golf business. He’s run R & B Golf for over two decades now, and the current location is not very public friendly. So, we really want to create a space where people can come in, have golf simulators set-up so people can play golf during the off-season, a space where he can continue to build and repair golf clubs, give lessons, etc. I think that will add a whole new venue and variable to the downtown experience.”
If they pass the two rounds of approval to qualify for the Community Catalyst Grant, Beau said the funds will be a major boost for their plans for the building.
“Our goal with the grant would be to focus just on the downstairs store fonts. My estimate to do both downstairs portions is roughly $150,000, so $100,000 would help tremendously to get the downstairs project going. Later on, there’s another grant from Iowa Economic Development Authority for upstairs living, so we may also apply for that for the two apartments to turn those into a nice upstairs lofts. At that point, we’d then consider finding our own house, or building on our garden property, and making the lofts available for downtown rentals,” advised Beau.
While the projects have been a daunting undertaking, Anna said they are pleased they’ve been able to step in and save a piece of Red Oak’s historic downtown.
“I know it will feel great when we have everything completed, and I’d also like for our kids, in the future, to have space to open their own business in the future. I feel like we’re really involved in the community, and keeping those spaces for family businesses would give us a place to connect with the community as a family. We’d have a store font that will provide us a good connecting piece to be able to do that,” said Anna. “I remember the McFarlands told us that if we hadn’t bought the place, it might have ended up like the old hospital, and needed to be demolished. I’m also looking at opportunities in the future to do volunteer-based activities at the buildings when work is completed, but that’s well into the future.”

As for Beau, he said he continues to be pro-Red Oak, and he cares about the community a great deal.

“It’s another way to give back to the community. I really love our history, so it’s been an hour to be in a position to help restore some of that history. We saw an opportunity, and we took it,” stated Beau.

The Boeyes also expressed their appreciation to the DUR Board for the recommendation for the Community Catalyst grant, as all the proposed projects were great options.

“Without it, it will take us a lot longer to achieve what we’re trying to achieve. If we get chosen, I thing it’s really going to help us out. With the recent renovations to the Red Oak Grand Theatre, and the work Perry White has done to his building right next door to us, it’s going to further develop that part of Red Oak’s downtown and help restore that block,” Beau explained.

The Red Oak Express

2012 Commerce Drive
P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

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