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Lindsborg’s new center inspired by old store

Courtesy Lindsborg CVB

LINDSBORG, Kan. — A department store that once dominated downtown has been rebuilt from the ground up and opened as a 15,000-square-foot conference and meeting center in this town of 3,500 one hour north of Wichita.

The entire town was invited to see the results when the J.O. Sundstrom Conference Center opened in late August. Downstairs, the center has a 3,200-square-foot banquet hall, an entrance foyer, a 12-person boardroom and a 900-square-foot meeting room. Large display windows, like those in use when the building was a department store, look out on downtown. Upstairs, construction is expected to wrap up in May on the building’s largest space — a 6,000-square-foot ballroom — and several smaller meeting spaces.

The facility has its own catering and staging kitchen and audiovisual equipment.

Ten years ago, the city bought the J.O. Sundstrom Building, built in 1879. It debated how to best use the landmark structure and ultimately decided that the building was in such poor shape it would have to be rebuilt.

Because Lindsborg takes pride in its historic downtown, the new conference center replicates the Italianate-style of the department store.

The building’s original owners, like many early Lindsborg residents, were Swedish immigrants drawn to an area developed by the Swedish Agricultural Co.

Because the center is downtown, meeting attendees can walk to art galleries, Swedish import stores, coffee shops and gift stores.