After being mostly vacant for the last 20 years, the J.A. Lamy Manufacturing Co. building in downtown Sedalia is being revamped for new use.

The building was constructed in the mid-1890s and was purchased by Stafford Swearingen’s great-grandfather from the Lamys in 1911, according to Swearingen. The company started by making coveralls, shop coats and other similar work items, plus made military fatigues during both World Wars. After a meeting post-World War II between Swearingen’s family and Levi Strauss, which at the time was only manufacturing its products on the West Coast, Lamy’s began making Levi’s. For five decades, hundreds of workers produced the well-known brand until Lamy’s closed its doors in 1999.

Since then, part of the Lamy’s building, and other buildings on West Main Street and in downtown Sedalia, has been converted into Bast Climate Controlled Storage facilities. When it came time to replace all of the building’s windows, Swearingen and his brother, John, decided it was time to utilize the building once again.

“We just had 55,000 square feet here that was doing nothing,” Swearingen said. “It was either do something with it or doze it in and neither John or I really wanted to doze in this piece of history. Which is cool, because now we’ve got a gorgeous facility.”

The building will be a mixed-use facility. The first floor will be various retail offerings that are still being determined, the second floor will be office space and the third floor will be apartments. Swearingen said a garden and patio is in the works and the parking lot will be improved.

“We want to support Sedalia, big time. It’s our home and … we’ve been a part of this community for generations,” Swearingen said. “We wanted to do something with it but needed the right project. And we stumbled upon it, and the right mixture. We had never thought about mix-use.”

There will be eight two-bedroom apartments and one one-bedroom apartment. All utilities will be included, the galley kitchen will have appliances along with a washer and dryer in the unit, and each unit receives one parking space. The units will be accessible by card entry only and the apartments include a security system. A new elevator is being constructed in place of the old freight elevator, which is still intact.

Swearingen described the apartments as an “industrial look with modern amenities.”

Much of the original elements of the building are being utilized, such as the floors and exposed brick, which had layers paint removed, and wood beams in the ceilings.

“I’ve been wandering around this building since I was a kid,” Swearingen said. “... You don’t notice a lot of this stuff, but we uncovered so many ‘oh that’s so cool’ stuff. My brother John and I would just look at each other and go, ‘Wow. This is fantastic.’ … We just uncovered a lot of cool-looking structure.”

The second floor will be office space in various sizes for five businesses, bathrooms and a shared conference room, plus the Swearingen family’s business office, which was previously located in the Lamy’s building.

“Because we believe in this project and it shows that we believe if we’re over here,” he said. “Plus it’s like coming home, just one floor up.”

Ideas are in the works for the retail space on the ground floor and specifics will be announced at a later date. Swearingen said their company will own and operate all of the retail businesses.

“We tried to create a little community here,” he said.

The project was started in July 2018 and Swearingen said it is on schedule to be completed by the end of the year. The apartments will be finished along with the office space, which will remain bare yet complete so businesses leasing the offices can tailor them to their needs.

Along with investment from the Swearingens’ company, the project is also included in the City of Sedalia’s Midtown TIF District. Swearingen said the city has been supportive of the endeavor and the financial assistance helped make the project a reality.


Nicole Cooke is the editor for the Sedalia Democrat, overseeing all newsroom operations and assisting with news coverage of Sedalia and Pettis County. She can be reached at 660-530-0138 or on Twitter @NicoleRCooke.

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