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Longtime business in downtown Rigby being demolished this week

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The site of the old Me’n Stans Restaurant at 100 West Main Street in Rigby in October 2019. | Rett Nelson, file photo

RIGBY – A building that sat vacant for years in downtown Rigby will soon be torn down.

Brent Tolman, an administrator with the Rigby Urban Renewal Agency, tells the structure formerly occupied by the Me’n Stans restaurant will be demolished later this week.

“The intent is to take it down, clean up the lot and make it attractive to a new development,” Tolman says.

The building was such a condition that repairing it would have cost more than it’s worth, he says.

“It looks great on the outside, but when we got into it, we found some asbestos and some deterioration,” says Tolman. “There are areas that aren’t safe to walk through because of collapse, so the agency boarded it up to keep people out of it.”

He also says a tree was growing in the concrete pad behind the building.

The agency will be submitting requests for proposals to select “the most appropriate development for that site” once the project is complete. A draft will be approved at its next meeting on Feb. 18.

The Rigby Urban Renewal Agency bought the Me’n Stans building and the vacant lot behind it from the previous owners last August. Tolman says they felt it was a good fit for a rehabilitation project.

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Andrew and Jorelle McClellan bought it in October 2019 after it had sat vacant for two and a half years. They had been planning to rent it out as office space for other businesses. Renovations quickly got underway, but safety concerns with the building combined with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought everything to a halt.

Andrew and Jorelle McClellan renovating the basement of Me’n Stans in Oct. 2019. | Rett Nelson,

“Rigby Urban Renewal offered to buy it a week after we bought it,” says Jorelle. “We told (them) no, and then they kept asking us for about a year, and finally we just decided to sell it.”

The closure of Me’n Stans in May 2017 wasn’t intended to be permanent, Donae Colborn, the son of the restaurant’s original owner, Stan Colborn, told us in 2018. When the city started removing street lights in connection with the Maverik gas station construction, Stan, who was 82 at the time, made a split-second decision to permanently shut down.

Me’n Stans has a long history in eastern Idaho dating back 50 years ago. The Jefferson Star reports Stan Colborn first opened a Rexburg location in August 1969. The Rigby location opened sometime in the 1980s after years of operation in St. Anthony, Jackson and West Yellowstone.

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Main and State Street, where the Rigby store sat, is an iconic location for longtime residents. Before Me’n Stans, Walker’s Cafe occupied the space, and in the 1920s, it was home to one of the largest department stores in the area.

One of the most requested new businesses in town over the last several years is a family diner. Although it is too early to know what will end up occupying this corner, Tolman says he’s looking forward to seeing what kind of business it attracts.

“I think it’s going to be beneficial to the city of Rigby once that corner is cleaned up and something new is constructed there,” says Tolman. “There have been some developers express interest in the property over the last month, but the agency is not at the point of entering any negotiations with them (yet). Once we put the proposal out, we’ll see what kind of responses we get back, and board members will make a decision.”

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