KWWL building in Waterloo to undergo major renovation - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

KWWL building in Waterloo to undergo major renovation

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Postcard featuring the Overland Hanson Co. Building, year unknown Postcard featuring the Overland Hanson Co. Building, year unknown
A car of the type that was sold at Overland Hanson Co. in the early 1900s. A car of the type that was sold at Overland Hanson Co. in the early 1900s.
Construction of the original building Construction of the original building
Interior of the former car dealership Interior of the former car dealership
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KWWL today announced plans to renovate the historic KWWL building in downtown Waterloo.

The building, located at 500 East 4th Street, has been the home of KWWL since 1958.

The announcement stems from an exhaustive review conducted by the company over the past year to assess the facilities and the feasibility of renovation or relocation to another site. It was determined that the present and future needs of the company could be satisfied in the current location.

The station and building are owned by Quincy Newspapers, Inc., a private, family-owned company that operates 12 television stations, two radio stations and two newspapers. Quincy acquired KWWL in 2006.

This decision will launch an extensive, multi-million dollar two-phased rehabilitation and modernization program. The building is a four-story structure comprising 55,000 square feet and is considered an historic landmark of downtown Waterloo.

Phase One plans will include restoration of the building's exterior, including the first-floor glass façade. Concurrently, the existing facilities of the television station will be brought up to contemporary broadcasting requirements. These plans call for first- and second-floor interior renovation.

Phase Two of the project will involve renovation of the building's third and fourth floor. The exact details of the Phase Two renovation are still in the planning stage.

The building, originally called the Overland Hanson Building, was built in 1914 and was a car dealership noted for its four floors of automobiles and service. The building still contains the oversized freight elevator used for transporting automobiles from floor to floor. Later, the building was known as the Insurance Building before becoming the KWWL Building in 1958.

Quincy is seeking federal and state historic designation for the property along with local support from the city of Waterloo. The company will begin the project upon successful completion of the historic tax credit application.

"KWWL is a Waterloo institution and the decision to remain in our building and in the city of Waterloo is important for the city and for us," said KWWL Vice President and General Manager Jim McKernan. "KWWL covers a 21-county area encompassing several major metro areas along with many rural and agricultural communities. The fact that our home base is Waterloo, when the region's other television stations are located somewhere else is an asset for our hometown."

"In this day and age when one's loyalty to their community often is a forgotten trait, KWWL's commitment to Waterloo is greatly appreciated," Waterloo mayor, Buck Clark added. "Waterloo and KWWL are synonymous, and the former Overland Hanson Building is an iconic structure in our city. We look forward to assisting KWWL and Quincy in completing this major project which complements new developments on the Franklin Street corridor and downtown."

"Quincy is proud of its ownership of KWWL, our involvement in northeast Iowa and especially proud to be associated with the city of Waterloo," said Quincy President and CEO Ralph M. Oakley, a fifth-generation member of the family-owned company. "Our company's tradition is one of service to the communities and regions we serve and we look forward to continuing that tradition long into the future."


QNI is a privately held family owned company with roots in the newspaper business dating back to 1835. Quincy Newspapers, Inc. was formed in 1926 with the merger of The Quincy Herald and The Quincy Whig-Journal.

The company owns and operates NBC affiliates in Quincy and Rockford Illinois, Waterloo and Sioux City, Iowa, Rochester, Minnesota and Bluefield, West Virginia. QNI also operates ABC affiliates in Madison, La Crosse, Eau Claire, Wausau and Eagle River, Wisconsin and a FOX affiliate in South Bend, Indiana. QNI operates another FOX affiliate in Rochester, Minnesota under a shared services agreement. QNI also owns and operates an AM-FM radio combination in Quincy and daily/Sunday newspapers in Quincy, Illinois and Newton, New Jersey.

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