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story.lead_photo.caption Demolition of a property at 712 Lafayette St. on Monday has a number of neighbors up in arms, feeling betrayed by Lincoln University. The campus is located on the opposite side of the street from this residence and one group tried to get an injunction to prevent the demolition, but to no avail. Neighboring residents had questions go unanswered about the project, including wanting to know who is paying for the demolition. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

Demolition work began Monday on the first of six properties owned by Lincoln University and located just off the main campus.

The single-family home at 712 Lafayette St. razed Monday was built in 1938, according to Jefferson City online records. LU officials said there was no historical significance to the building.

The other properties LU plans to demolish are 807 E. Dunklin St., 809 E. Dunklin St., 807 Locust St., 813 Locust St. and 1011 E. Atchison St.

"It was determined that these homes have multiple issues making them uninhabitable including the presence of lead paint, mold and asbestos. In addition, older mechanical and electrical systems in the residences make it cost prohibitive to bring them up to code," LU spokesperson Misty Young said in an emailed statement. "With all these factors in mind, the university has made the decision to raze the properties."

Young said some of the properties were used as student housing, but after a full assessment and the previously mentioned issues, the decision was made to no longer house students there.

"A few of the properties were left vacant when we purchased them, with the original intent to raze them," Young added.

Because LU is a state entity, its property is exempt from city regulations such as building permits and therefore did not need a demolition permit from the city to do the work, Jefferson City building official Larry Burkhardt said.

City Counselor Ryan Moehlman said city ordinances are inapplicable on properties owned by the state, which would include a demolition ordinance aimed at historic properties that was approved by the City Council in January 2018.

"The university determined to raze the six properties this past summer," Young said. "After the properties are razed, we will sow grass and maintain the lot."

Young said the project is expected to be completed by the end of this month. The total cost of this project is $115,000.

"By comparison, to rehab the houses would have cost between $450,000 and $500,000," Young said.

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