FROM READERS: Video celebrates Niedermeyer building history

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 | 1:24 p.m. CST; updated 8:39 a.m. CST, Wednesday, February 20, 2013
A still image from Bob Taylor's video on his family's history shows the Niedermeyer building at the corner of Cherry and Tenth streets.

Bob Taylor has a  personal history with Columbia dating back to 1899, which is about when his grandmother's family moved to the city.

With the video embedded below, Taylor said he hopes to provide a look into the identity of the Niedermeyer building. Music heard in the video is from the Aeolian organ, which has a history he also works to preserve.

Lately, I see the issue of more downtown student housing is only getting cursory attention (from planners) when it could turn into a real bust in several ways. Students graduating with $100,000 debt are becoming common, yet most of them have no way to pay for it. What happens if students realize they can’t afford the huge debt after graduation and stop moving into these places? In recent years, most of the woes of this country have come from "too much and too soon" actions. This boom in student apartments, with all the amenities normally associated with mid-income-or-above wage earners, has to deal with reality soon. When that happens, these places might be empty.

Destruction of the Niedermeyer for a 15 story apartment building is risky for the community. The goal of new construction is to satisfy the profit motive of out-of-town investors who couldn't care less about local historical significance and other consequences. I question the wisdom of that development as it might adversely affect established restaurants and other businesses by creating a huge parking shortage and at the same time, might introduce overcapacity in a market that is being embraced by lack of financial (student) wisdom. Four major student complexes are now under construction. Two are in the downtown area. Adding the Niedermeyer apartment site seems overly exuberant.

If you can't see the video above, view it on YouTube here.

TELL US:  Is there a special place in Columbia that you have a personal history or connection with? Are there any places that you wish hadn't changed or were still around? Leave a comment below, post on our Facebook wall, tweet to @CoMissourian or email

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising Editor Joy Mayer.

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S.W. Moore February 19, 2013 | 3:20 p.m.

Blah, blah, blah. I've never read such entitled bunk in all my life. There's no risk involved for the community at all. The developer is taking that. And if they "go empty," which is not based on any fact or even common sense, then the rent goes DOWN. Thats a win-win for the community and especially for entitled folk that think people should live practically rent free. And the notion that restaurants don't want more residents downtown is ludicrous, as well. Vibrant downtowns need full-time residents to survive and this proposed development will give Columbia's skyline some needed height and definition, as well (vs. Paquin, which looks like a project, or the bland Tiger Hotel, which is only palatable because of its historic neon sign, or the campus power plant stacks, the city water tower, or the phone company bldg with its wall of yellow bricks.). It's bizarre that oddballs have rallied around this decrepit, architecturally insignificant barn of a building -- contrary to facts and common sense, and seemingly against their own beliefs about everything from the problem with urban sprawl and need for a strong downtown, to the fact that more new market-rate housing brings overall rental rates down, to the issue of students barhopping and then having to drive home drunk on Providence Rd. Demolish this ramshackle rat trap and stop wasting everyone's time -- and infringing on the rights of the property owner. You have the video for memories.

(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders February 19, 2013 | 4:59 p.m.

Of course, once the education bubble pops, MU will be in far, far worse shape than developers (who can simply file for bankruptcy). It's nice to see some one actually recognize though, that this is NOT organic growth, but yet another debt-fueled bubble which is unsustainable.

Even if kids are smart enough to avoid this trap, they will still be forced to pay for all of MU's unsustainable growth. Between bond payments for unneeded buildings, to pension payments for the no longer needed staff and faculty, there will be no escape from these costs, which will only continue to pressure budgets due to dropping revenues.

These poor kids will not have a chance to get ahead in life, as the elders have stolen and consumed it all. Why? Because debt does NOT CREATE WEALTH, but rather steals it from the future.

As always, the blame lies with the Not-Federal, Not-Reserve Bank (and the political class), which does nothing but to undermine the value of their currency by issuing it by ever increasing amounts.

This will not end well.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking February 19, 2013 | 5:41 p.m.

One thing they need to hold any developer to is the need for sufficient on-site parking. This was not done in the last round of building (I remember some attorney for the developer said in the Council minutes that only 25% of their tenants would have cars!) and the surrounding area is now feeling the effects (to put it mildly).

In an upscale student housing complex, virtually everyone will have a car (wish I it were not so...). Either plan for that, or don't build at all.


(Report Comment)
D O'Brien February 22, 2013 | 11:35 a.m.

I'm wondering why they can't use the VACANT lot that has been an eyesore on Providence. Yes, the old Osco building. Oh, that's right, for some reason the City Council does not enforce anything on the owner of that empty for 10+ years building. I wonder if that building is a fire hazard or health hazard. Anyone inspecting it regularly to make sure it is not? That would be a good thing to investigate.
Dianna O'Brien

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams February 22, 2013 | 2:27 p.m.

Dianna: First, no one "uses" anything unless they own it. Neither property is community property.

Second, the owner of the Niedermeyer is willing to sell for a price someone else is willing to pay. As near as I can tell, this situation is not mimicked by the Osco site.

Either way, neither you nor the city is in a position to force a suggestion on anyone. What do you propose to do if someone does not like your suggestion and says "no"? Are you willing to take the role of tyrant and use force?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz February 22, 2013 | 3:52 p.m.

Dianna, just what ordinances do you think the city is not enforcing with respect to the Osco building? Yes, it's ugly and currently abandoned, but that's not against the law nor should it be.

(Report Comment)

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