Waterloo Preservationists Hope to Preserve Hostess Bakery

The Waterloo Hostess bakery on Commercial Street is one of the 33 operations that will be closing Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, in Waterloo, Iowa after Hostess Brands said it was going out of business. (AP Photo/The Waterloo Courier, Matthew Putney)


By Liz Blood

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Preservationists in Waterloo are hoping to save the 84-year-old Wonder Bread bakery building that closed last month.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported Wednesday that the Waterloo Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously last week to support the preservation of the historic character and facade of the downtown building.

Commission member Ed Ottesen, who is chairman of downtown revitalization group Main Street Waterloo, sought the resolution after a city official expressed interest in acquiring the building. Some have suggested turning it into a parking garage or demolishing the structure.

The recommendation has no legal weight.

"Main Street was wanting to be more proactive about it," Ottesen said. "They'd like to see it remain developed somehow with the building still intact."

The building has been closed since Texas-based Hostess Brands Inc. moved ahead in November with plans to sell off its assets in bankruptcy court, including its 33 bakeries.

The sprawling bakery in downtown Waterloo was built in 1928 and is located near the RiverLoop Amphitheatre, public library and Waterloo Center for the Arts.

Community Planning and Development Director Noel Anderson had previously told the Courier that city officials had been talking about the building for years.

"Obviously, we'd like to have that site itself used as something more compatible with the foot traffic that we anticipate in the upper and lower plaza area," Anderson said.

Anderson said there have been suggestions that the building would be converted to a parking garage, but he said it was too soon to say what might be done with the building and property.

"We just haven't gotten into any details of how feasible that would be as a parking area or a new building," he said.

The building is not listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but an inventory from the State Historic Preservation Office notes that surveyors indicated it "possibly should be considered for historical significance."

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