More than 15 months after a wall of a downtown Jefferson City building partially collapsed, the owner of the building has applied for a demolition permit and hopes to begin demolishing the structure soon.
The west wall of the building at 200 E. High St. partially collapsed in June 2018. Structural engineers determined the wall collapsed due to water infiltration and hidden decay of the mortar in the wall.
Neidert Properties LLC, which owns 200 E. High St., applied for a demolition permit from Jefferson City earlier this week.
Andrew Neidert, with Neidert Properties, said he was "relieved that there will be some closure to the problem."
"I don't love it that the building is being torn down," he said. "I had tenants in the building. The building was operating and functioning great. Would I rather have the building as it was 16 months ago? Of course. But it's not really an option."
Law firms Berry Wilson LLC and Turnbull & Stark LLC were previously located in 200 E. High St.
The city has to finalize some technicalities, such as traffic control and the impact on surrounding buildings, before approving the demolition permit application, Jefferson City Building Official Larry Burkhardt said.
Burkhardt said he is unsure when the city will approve the demolition permit application.
While Neidert does not have a set date to demolish 200 E. High St., he said he will begin the demolition process "as soon as all the city requirement have been met and we know that there is no safety concern to any individuals."
"My contractor is ready and we will tear the building down," he said. "It's not going to happen in a week, but could it happen in two weeks? Possibly."
Neidert said he will demolish all of 200 E. High St., including the wall between 200 and 202 E. High St.
For several months, Neidert Properties and the Wiebergs were in a legal battle over who was responsible for repairing and maintaining the common wall between the two properties. In June, Cole County Presiding Judge Pat Joyce ruled Neidert Properties owned the wall between 200 and 202 E. High St. and could proceed with demolishing 200 E. High St.
Last month, David Bandre, representing the Wiebergs, said his clients were trying to find ways to save their building and were waiting for a response from their insurance company.
Bandre told the News Tribune on Wednesday the Wiebergs have not performed any work on the common wall yet.
"We are investigating all options available to the Weibergs at the moment," he said in an emailed response. "A final determination as to how to best act has not yet been made."
Neidert previously said he would sell his property to the Wiebergs for $1 or purchase 202 E. High St. from the Wiebergs for $1. However, neither of those deals came to fruition, Neidert said Wednesday.
Carol Wieberg also told the News Tribune in July she and Ruben were considering purchasing the lot and constructing something there, but discussions were still preliminary.
"All we have done is buy time so that 202 could come up with a reasonable solution, and it just hasn't happened," Neidert said. " The city doesn't need to look at the building or the blocked-off road any longer."
Businesses Love2Nourish and MO Juice were located inside 202 E. High St. before they had to vacate the building last fall.
About a year ago, the city ruled 200 and 202 E. High St. were dangerous buildings and gave Neidert and the Wiebergs deadlines to repair or demolish their buildings, which both property owners missed. After they missed the deadlines, the city conducted administrative hearings and ruled the city could begin the abatement process if the property owners did not repair or demolish the buildings.
The Wiebergs filed a lawsuit against the city in March, asking for a new hearing. In June, Joyce affirmed the city's ruling that 202 E. High St. was a dangerous building and the Wiebergs must repair or demolish the property.
Even though the city could have moved forward to demolish 202 E. High St. after Joyce's ruling, City Counselor Ryan Moehlman previously said, city staff agreed to give Neidert, the Wiebergs and their lawyers space to resolve the issue themselves.
Following that ruling, the Residences at 204 LLC filed a petition for injunctive relief against Neidert Properties. Residences at 204, owner of 204 E. High St., is asking the court to order Neidert Properties to remove a fire escape from a shared private alley, which the petition states violates restrictive use covenants in a 1978 agreement.
Neidert said the fire escape will no longer be there once 200 E. High St. is torn down, and he believes that should clear up issues.
The building at 202 E. High St. also shares a wall with 204. E. High St.