Historic downtown retail site transforming into new use
A historic downtown retail site on Congress Avenue will get a $4 million renovation later this month to make it viable as office, residential and restaurant space.
The former Yarings department store was one of Austin's first retail sites. The building at 506 Congress was built in the late 1800s, but is best known for the store Jacob Schmidt opened there in 1938. The store's name was derived from the maiden name of Schmidt's wife, originally Bertha Yahr. The family owned company grew to 10 women's specialty stores at one time, but closed about six years ago.
The building will get more than a little facelift. The …