JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — This year marks two decades the state of Missouri has owned a vacant train station.
The once-grand Union Depot has sat unoccupied in Joplin for decades. The last passenger train left the station in 1969, the Joplin Globe reported.
The Department of Natural Resources has long been ready and willing to sell the station as soon as someone with a plan comes along. The department would require the buyer to honor a rehabilitation covenant as a condition of the sale.
"Somebody couldn't buy it and tear it down," said Brian Quinn, spokesman for the department. "They would have to rehabilitate it as a historic property."
Quinn said several groups have expressed an interest in the station over the years but a lack of funding has erased any potential deals. The state wants to make sure a developer not only plans to rehab the building but also has the money to do so. There are no plans or deals currently in place, and there is no known price on the building because it's gone several years without an assessment, according to Quinn.
Rehabbing the station would probably cost millions but the building has great potential, according to David Glenn, a Joplin commercial real estate specialist.
"It truly is a diamond in the rough; it needs to be preserved," he said. "It could be office space on the second floor, could be retail on the first floor, could be a nice destination restaurant. There's 23,000 square feet under the roof, so it's a big enough building you could put in all those uses."