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Maytag buildings sustain heavy damage

The Cellar Peanut Pub, Sequoia Fitness out of commission

Historic Maytag buildings housing The Cellar Peanut Pub sustained heavy damages on Monday after strong winds ripped through Jasper County and other communities in Central Iowa.
Historic Maytag buildings housing The Cellar Peanut Pub sustained heavy damages on Monday after strong winds ripped through Jasper County and other communities in Central Iowa.

Marty Duffy, owner of The Cellar Peanut Pub, planned to coach his son’s soccer team’s first practice on Monday, but instead he found himself struggling what to say or do after his almost 2-year-old Newton business was heavily damaged by high-speed winds. Duffy said it “looks like a missile hit my building.”

Once the derecho cleared Jasper County, several motorists made their way into the parking lot closest to Building 1 and 2 of Legacy Plaza, which were once a part of the former Maytag headquarters now owned by DMACC. From there, they could see the pub, located in Building 2, would be out of commission for some time.

To make matters worse for the Peanut Pub, Duffy said the bar was doing well financially, or as well as it could during a pandemic. In fact, the outdoor, socially distanced beer garden was becoming a hit, especially with favorable weather and the nearby Gezellig Brewing Co. offering new beers on a regular basis.

“And now there’s this,” Duffy said, motioning to the pub. “Can we get to 2021?”

Even though some motorists drove by to get a peak at the damage, guards were on site to make sure onlookers did not get anywhere near the damaged structure, which had a caved in roof and was missing parts of a wall. Officials worried the fragile building could collapse.

As of Monday, Duffy was not allowed inside the Peanut Pub to observe the damages or see if anything could be salvaged. The closest he could get is about 10 yards from the front entrance. There he could see water spilling down onto the floor, which was illuminated by the natural light from the hole in the ceiling.

“It’s going to be hard to recover from this,” Duffy said. “I’ve never dealt with anything like this.”

Also housed in Building 2 was the Newton branch of Sequoia Fitness. The yoga studio posted on Facebook that it, too, is out of commission for a while but is still hosting Saturday morning outdoor community classes. Staff at Sequoia Fitness intend to release new updates throughout the week.

“Give love to someone who needs it, we all need some damn love right now and a kind word,” Sequoia Fitness said in a Tuesday Facebook post. “Bring a friend in with you to yoga and help spread the amazing-ness of this awesome community. We would appreciate it and they would too!”

Kim Didier, executive director of DMACC Business Resources, told Newton News that Buildings 1 and 2 of Legacy Plaza sustained the most significant damage. The roof also blew off of DMACC’s Career Academy. There were also minor damages to the roof of Building 16 and missing glass on both skywalks.

Despite all these damages, Didier said it is DMACC’s intention to rebuild. Many of the intact, whole bricks at Buildings 1 and 2 will be stored and reused for a future historical restoration project. Didier noted the historical integrity of the buildings will remain intact in the rebuild.

Didier, describing the destruction, said, “The roof of Building 2 peeled open. And the north part of that landed on Building 1. You can pretty much see whole rafters that used to be inside Building 2. So as much of those rafters can be saved, we’ll save those and then also match them with like kind of wood.”

Both Sequoia Fitness (previously known as Re-Wire Yoga Studio) and The Cellar Peanut Pub were some of the first businesses in Legacy Plaza to attract visitors and out-of-towners to this yet-to-be-realized space. Obviously, something like a derecho was not something Didier, DMACC or these businesses were expecting.

“It’s unfortunate,” Didier told Newton News on Wednesday. “I would have never chose this, nor did I really anticipate this on a Monday. The courtyard is all cleaned up. We have the east half of the courtyard now open, and it’s buzzing up here today because we have electricity.”

Except for some internet issues, tenants in Buildings 17 and 18, including the new co-working space and Gezellig Brewing Company, have power. Food trucks are scheduled to appear in Legacy Plaza for lunches and dinners. Didier also said guests won’t be able to use the full courtyard just yet.

“We’re going to work as fast as we can to rebuild, to try to get back to where we were,” Didier said. “And then move forward with our redevelopment agreement with those properties and move toward the vision we have of housing and other possible amenities. It’s a bump in the road, but it’s just a bump.”

Newton News intends to reach out to more businesses affected by the derecho.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or

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