Historic Preservation Commission supports renovation of Rome restaurant building

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 | 1:19 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Historic Preservation Commission prefers the idea of renovating rather than demolishing the historic building in downtown Columbia that has most recently been home to The Rome restaurant.

At its meeting Tuesday night, the commission passed a motion recommending the city work with the building's owner, Cory Hodapp, to find a solution to the building's encroachments onto the sidewalk and south-adjoining alley.

Hodapp applied for a demolition permit after finding out about the encroachments, which legally place parts of the building on city property.

Possible steps the city could take to allow Hodapp to renovate The Rome building include granting a variance, an easement, or simply selling Hodapp the encroached-upon land, board member Patrick Earney said.

Hodapp would like to add three residential stories to the top of the current edifice. Although his preference was to renovate, preserving the historic character of the property, he decided the costs and complications of fixing the encroachments would be more trouble than simply demolishing the building and starting anew, board members said.

Brian Treece, a member of the Commission, speaking in favor of the motion, called the proposed renovations "a great example of adapted re-use."

One other mitigating factor that the board brought up in favor of renovation is the fact that The Rome Restaurant building shares a wall with a Booches. Charles Kurre, co-owner of Booches, called Treece to express his concerns about the possible demolition project next door.

The Rome closed in June. Hodapp has not ruled out opening another restaurant at that location.

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