McGlothin envisions new purpose for Hehr Glass plant

Dave McGlothin stands in front of the old Hehr Glass plant, for which he is looking for a pool of investors to purchase and turn into a renaissance center and community center.

By Blake Spurney

NEWTON – Dave McGlothin was out in his yard when a vision started to materialize about the old Hehr Glass plant at 1050 S. Meridian Road.

McGlothin’s idea is for a pool of investors to purchase the monolith and then work together to gradually restore the property as a showcase for events and entertainment. The possibilities he sees are endless for how the building could be used.

McGlothin said he didn’t know if Hehr Glass used the building for manufacturing or as a distribution center. It’s listed for sale for $998,000, or about $10 per square foot. According to county records, the building is owned by Hehr International and the contact for the property lists an address in Tustin, Calif.

“I kind like the mystery of it all,” he said. “I haven’t even been inside, but I can imagine the mystery of it.”

McGlothin said he had just started talking with people on his mail route and around town about the possibilities.

“It’s so far-fetched, all they can say is it sounds like a good idea,” he said.

McGlothin’s idea would be to start a GoFundMe account to obtain funds to purchase the building. He said the first phase would involve using the space for storage for things like scrap metal or merchandise. Meanwhile, it could be used as a venue for live music, car shows and a flexible disc golf course.

“That backdrop is just awesome for music,” he said.

McGlothin said groups of plumbers and electricians could use restoration of the building as a teaching platform. He also sees it being used as an extended classroom for Newton High School’s industrial arts program or a site for Eagle Scout projects. As each little nook gets restored, people could lease space for small business. He said the space could be used in a flexible way for those who want to try new things, but who don’t want to go the conventional route. As the property started getting stitched back together, he said it would operate as a little city, a renaissance center or a rogue history museum.

McGlothin said if 10,000 people contributed toward the purchase of the property, money beyond the purchase price would go toward improvements, taxes and insurance. He said he didn’t know of such a project working in other cities, but sometimes crazy ideas turn into wild successes. Anyone interested in discussing his dream project can email him at david.mcglothin@gmail.com.

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