COLUMBIA — The Historic Preservation Commission plans to attend Monday night's City Council meeting to support the preservation of Columbia's oldest building, the Niedermeyer apartment house.
At a meeting Thursday night, the commission opposed a demolition permit application filed by Contegra Construction on behalf of Collegiate Housing Partners, a St. Louis-based development firm, which is under contract to purchase the Niedermeyer building in March.
The firm plans to construct student housing on the corner of Tenth and Cherry streets that would rise up to 15 stories high, making it the tallest building in Columbia.
According to the city's guidelines for applying for a demolition permit, the application must be filed by either the owner or an agent on behalf of the owner, said Brent Gardner, a member of the Historic Preservation Commission. Contegra's current application doesn't comply with these rules, he said.
Additionally, the permit cannot be approved unless utilities are turned off, he said. The Niedermeyer building is currently serving as residential housing, therefore utilities will not be turned off until mid-July.
Built in 1837, the Niedermeyer building is Columbia's oldest standing building. It has served as an all-girls private school, a prominent hotel, a university classroom and, since 1921, residential housing, according to the State Historical Society of Missouri.
On Monday, the council will vote on a motion to put a six-month suspension on all demolitions downtown. This way, the city could review C-2 zoning, which makes up most of downtown's commercial property including the Niedermeyer apartment house, Gardner said.
The demolition permit application has faced opposition not only from the Historic Preservation Commission but also from the community, chairman Brian Treece said.
An online petition at change.org had gathered nearly 1,500 signatures as of Thursday night in favor of the Niedermeyer building's preservation.
The demolition permit has not yet been approved by the city.
Also on Thursday night, the Hagan Scholarship Foundation made a presentation in order to gain the commission's support on buying, rezoning and demolishing two properties on the Stephens College campus. The Hagan Scholarship Foundation is planning to establish an academy on the property to support junior high and high school students from rural areas.
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