The shared vision of La Paris owner Jacqueline Riekena and Ukranian architect Dmitry Gannotsky was unveiled Thursday afternoon at an open house inside the 11,000-square-foot commercial space.
Refreshments were served to about 200 visitors to the La Paris corner building, located at 1208 Willis Ave. and 1104 Second St. in Perry’s downtown cultural and business district.
The dilapidated property was sold to Riekena in November 2016 by Rob Wenger of Perry, and the buyer invited the seller to take part in the symbolic groundbreaking Thursday.
“It was only fitting that Rob help me with the groundbreaking ceremony,” Riekena said. “When I ask Rob to do something, he looks at me, sighs, then probably thinks, ‘Oh crap, what am I am getting myself into this time?'”
Riekena, a West Des Moines resident, was joined at the event by her Perry friends as well as visiting frineds from Urbandale and West Des Moines.
An Eiffel Tower cake drew praise from knowledgeable bakers in attendance.
“I loved the entire cake,” Rikena said. “It was absolutely, light, fluffy, a taste of raspberry and looked amazing.”
She said eight new businesses are planned for the building, which once housed the Woolworth’s and Spurgeons stores and was more recently home to El Rey Market.
Plans call for a tea room on the corner, with a bakery, cantina, pizza joint, sports pub and several other ventures, including the art of the Prairie Girls Clothing and Primitive Finds.
Riekena described the retail complex as a “destination venue” and “a must-see on your bucket list in Iowa.”