Petersburg Pilot -


Litsheim to move Romiad Building to downtown lot


Suzanne Ashe

The top half of the two-story Romiad Building will soon move from Haugen Street to N. Nordic Drive.

If all goes as planned, the Romiad Building will soon be moved about 600 feet, and face a different direction.

The Petersburg Economic Development Council recommended, and Petersburg City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved, a loan of $210,000, at 5 percent interest, to local businessman Pete Litsheim.

Litsheim plans to move the 29-year-old building from its current location near the corner of 2nd and Haugen to across the street, down and over a block to an empty lot next to Scandia House on N. Nordic Dr.

Litsheim, who owns the empty lot, and is the proprietor of Diamante Gift Shoppe, got the idea to move the building from the city council, who asked for alternatives to tearing down the building. The Romiad Building needs to move in order to make room for the construction of a new library, which begins this summer.

Rock-N-Road Construction currently owns the building, and is under contract to have the building removed from the lot by March 31. City Manager Stephen Giesbrecht noted that there wasn't a stipulation in the contract regarding how the building should be removed from its current location.

What Litsheim has proposed is removing the second story and attic from the 40 x 60-foot, two-story building and move it, on dollies to the empty lot. The remaining floor of the building will be demolished and removed.

“Will the thing hold together?” asked Mayor Al Dwyer.

Litsheim assured the mayor and city council that his plan will work. He has met with professional building movers in Oregon and Iowa, he said. And he has had experience moving a building in Petersburg several years ago, he explained.

“I wouldn't be interested in the project if it wasn't for the city,” Litsheim said.

Although Councilman Rick Braun was not in attendance at the meeting, his presence was known. The portion of the discussion focused on ten questions Braun had emailed to fellow Councilman Don Koenigs.

The questions brought up issues of safety concerns during the actual move and improvements to the destination site.

According to Litsheim, preparing the building for the move will take a couple of weeks, but the move itself will only take a few hours. The goal is to lift the top half of the building and move it in increments. Litsheim said the move may take place in the evening to avoid busy day-time traffic.

“I want retail space with a 10-foot ceiling,” Litsheim said.

The plan is to have Diamante move into the new building once it's in place.

“I've gone over there, I've measured. I think I've discovered the best way to move the building,” Litsheim said.

Once the building is moved, it will be updated and sprinkler systems will be added, Litsheim said.

“I'm still responsible for [the building],” said Richard Burrell of Rock-N-Road Construction. “It's still a good building, if it ends up downtown on that lot it'll be a good thing.”


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