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KD Station was retail and entertainment attraction built inside the facilities of a former meat packing plant in Sioux City, Iowa.

KD Station in 2005.

Contents

History

  • The building was constructed in 1917 and purchased by Swift and Company in 1919.
  • The site was the scene of many labor protests that often resulted in violence, and in at least one case, a death.
  • On December 14, 1949, a massive explosion at the plant killed 21 and injured 91, in addition to badly damaging a section of the building. The damaged portion was rebuilt, remodeled and re-opened in early 1951.
  • In 1974, Swift closed their operations at the building.
  • The vacated building was purchased by the late Kermit Lohry in 1976 and was reopened as a business and entertainment complex. Lohry's plan included filling the building with stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues, as well as incorporating hockey rinks and a rail museum and a dinner train. At best, the complex was home to about 20 leasing tenants. The rest of Lohry's plans never came to fruition.
  • In 1999 much of the deteriorated north side of the building was torn down due to safety concerns. These sections were disused and insecure, and often vandalized. (explaining the otherwise confusing doors visible on the exterior of the building's third and fourth floors)
  • In July of 2004, a fire in an outdoor electrical transformer prompted an inspection of the facility. The building was deemed unfit for occupancy, and tenants were forced to vacate with almost no notice. The main structure has sat vacant since then, home to only wildlife and the occasional curious trespasser. A few of the businesses formerly leasing at KD Station soon reopened in a small neighboring building that is connected to the main complex by a skyway and tunnel, both of which are blocked off.
  • A large fire broke out in the abandoned facility sometime in the last week of December, 2006. Initial speculation was that the fire was slowly consuming the bowling alley on the fourth floor of the complex. Firefighters chose to let the fire burn out on its own, rather than risking lives by sending firefighters into the abandoned building. Two youths aged 17 and 18 were found to be the arsonists responsible for the blaze and were arrested in February of '07. After entering through a broken window they started the fire with a gasoline can containing fuel by dumping its contents in the old bowling alley and lighting it on fire.

Businesses

Some of the businesses throughout KD's tenure as a shopping center include:

  • Dowry Costumes and more, since relocated on Floyd Blvd
  • Da Udder Place, a bar and restaurant
  • KD Bowl, a bowling alley
  • Ruth's Cosina, a Mexican restaurant now located in a building next door
  • Backstage with Ray's; a music store catering to less common recordings, now next door
  • Kiel Pro Video, a small production studio
  • C Anthony Trucking
  • A health spa, cleverly called, "The Rendering Plant."
  • The Salt Cellar, also known as the Blues Cellar
  • The Wizard's Cellar, a bar
  • The Pizza Peddler, a popular family entertainment restaurant.
  • An 18 hole mini-golf course
  • An archery range
  • A computer repair business
  • A butcher shop; given the original purpose of the building, not surprising
  • A shop that sold collectibles, mainly NASCAR memorabilia

Future plans

The building is targeted for demolition, but the costs of the project are prohibitive. Demolition of the 350,000-square-foot (33,000 m2) building is estimated to cost $5 million. Only $750,000 in state and federal money has been secured by the Sioux City Council for the demolition. The structure will likely stand vacant until the money is raised or more pressing circumstances prompt the demolition. The cost of demolition is so high partly because the building is constructed with hundreds of massive reinforced concrete columns, which will not be fast or easy to dismantle. The building demonstrated its sturdy construction when firefighters made holes for air to enter; the wrecking ball took 41 strikes to penetrate the thick brick wall of the fourth floor bowling alley.

The city of Sioux City has found a contractor to do the asbestos remediation and demolition, although allegations of previous worker safety complaints have surfaced.

As of the fall season of 2009, demolition of the KD Station has been started.

Fire of December, 2006

Fire in the factory

In the last week of December 2006, a fire broke out in the vacant building. Firefighters speculated that the fire was on the 4th floor, where a bowling alley was housed. Three teens were later charged with setting the fire after one teen bragged to his friends of the deed. The fire was set using gasoline found within the building.

Firefighters used a wrecking ball to knock several holes in the exterior walls of the building, letting smoke escape and fresh air enter. The reasoning was apparently to help the fire grow large enough that it could be pinpointed using thermal imaging equipment. In addition, fueling the fire would help it expend its source of fuel sooner. Firefighters were not worried about structural failures because of the building's steel and concrete construction and relatively little content of flammable material.

External links

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