The long road to renovation for Exchange Place and the Bitting Building hasn’t reached the end yet, but got a huge boost with Tuesday’s closing of a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development loan. The $66 million project on the northeast and northwest corners of Douglas and Market had been tangled up in the financial and legal problems of the “Minnesota guys” of Real Development for nearly a decade. And as Dave Wells, president of Key Construction, put it, the vacant buildings have “just been a blight.” The plans, which involve Dallas developer John McWilliams, include adding a parking garage and apartment building where the Lerner and Michigan buildings currently are. Now the construction finally can begin on what promises to be a prime piece of downtown redevelopment along the Douglas corridor. – Rhonda Holman
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