Longtime restaurant, bar to become quadplex

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After more than 60 years in operation, Heichelbech’s Restaurant closed in May 2017.


JASPER — The building that housed Heichelbech’s Restaurant and Bar — once a staple for food and drinks on 12th Street in Jasper — will soon serve a new purpose.

On Wednesday night, the Jasper Board of Zoning Appeals approved a zoning variance that will allow the space to be used as a multi-family dwelling consisting of four units.

“You look at Jasper, and everything’s growing, growing, growing,” said Nick Dills, a member of Stella Property Group, owners of the building. “And we need housing to bring more people in for the jobs. There’s no duplexes available to buy, so how can we repurpose older buildings in town? And that was one of the thoughts.”

According to Herald archives, after more than 60 years in operation, Heichelbech’s Restaurant closed in May 2017. Dills said the bar closed a little more than a year ago. Stella purchased the building in early September.

The structure’s interior will be completely renovated, and the four units will be available to rent within the next six months. Floor plans presented at the zoning meeting by Phil Buehler of Brosmer Land Surveying show the former restaurant will be transformed into a living space that houses three two-bedroom units and one single-bedroom space in the roughly 3,300-square-foot building. It will also undergo an external facelift that will make the exterior look “a little bit more residential” and less like a restaurant, Buehler explained.

“It’s gonna be affordable,” Dills said of the new units. “A lot of these people are building brand new. Two-bedroom units are going for 700 bucks. Ours are gonna be mid-sixes.”

He continued: “It’s just gonna be completely remodeled. Everything’s gonna be brand new in the units, so we’re looking forward to getting some good people in there and going forward with it.”

Heichelbech’s Restaurant and Bar made a name for itself as a popular place for locals to eat as far back as 1952, when the Heichelbech family purchased it from Ray Giesler. According to a 2017 Herald story, Giesler purchased the building after it was a Prohibition-era speakeasy, and operated it as Ray’s Tap Room in the 1940s. The Heichelbech family expanded the facility and established mock turtle soup as a signature dish.

That storied history could factor into the name of the apartments that will soon occupy the space. Stella members are considering calling the new development “Taproom Apartments.”

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