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Big Al's Pizza one of several downtown La Crosse locations seeing new life

Older buildings in downtown La Crosse seeing new life

LA CROSSE, Wisc. (WKBT) - "Every building owner is saying there's confidence right now in the heart of the city," explained Robin Moses, Executive Director of Downtown Main Street La Crosse.

"There's been resurgence to businesses coming up and popping up," expressed Ryan Johnson, co-owner of Big Al's Pizza.

 Confidence in downtown La Crosse has led to a renovation of a decades old pizza spot.

"We tried to keep and embrace as much of the history as possible, so the old elements that people would recognize with the brand, the airplanes, the car, the iconic storefront, those are the things we kept," elaborated Johnson.  

Big Al's is the latest refurbished building downtown.

The uptick of new stores and shops in old buildings is related to an increased downtown population, according to Downtown Main Street La Crosse.

"The new residential growth has been substantial. That creates an opportunity for more businesses to be sustained and supported and new businesses to move in to satisfy those needs in the community," detailed Moses.  

With limited space to meet the demand of more businesses downtown, renovations become an attractive option to the city and businesses.

"You can't always get rid of the old and have new, but we can take the good things about the old and improve upon them," added Moses.

Renovating older buildings does come with financial struggles.

"When you start digging into old buildings, you start to uncover a lot of things and it can start adding up when costs are concerned," elaborated Johnson.

But for Big Al's, being a part of downtown is worth the effort.

"We are really excited about the end product, and we're really excited about welcoming the community of La Crosse back and visitors to our community. We got a really cool space in a really great area."

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