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story.lead_photo.caption FILE PHOTO: Jefferson City determined in fall of 2018 that the common wall between 202, at left, and 200 E. High St. is failing. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

With the shared common wall between two downtown buildings now failing, the neighboring property owners to the crumbling downtown building must decide whether to repair or demolish their own building.

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Jefferson City determined the common wall between 200 and 202 E. High St. is failing due to mortar washing out over the years, adding it is "no longer serviceable," according to a Nov. 9 letter from Jefferson City Building Official Larry Burkhardt.

Cindy and Ruben Wieberg, property owners of 202 E. High St., must now decide whether to repair or demolish the building by Jan. 31, 2019.

In June, the west wall of 200 E. High St., owned by Neidert Properties LLC, partially collapsed due to water infiltration and hidden decay of the mortar in the wall.

The city ruled 200 and 202 E. High St. as dangerous buildings last month and ordered the tenants to vacate the properties. Love2Nourish and MO Juice were located inside 202 E. High St., while law firms Berry Wilson LLC and Turnbull & Stark LLC were in 200 E. High St.

The tenants of 202 E. High St. must remain out of the building until the shared common wall is repaired or replaced, the Nov. 9 letter states.

"202 East High Street is structurally dependent on 200 (E. High St.), so their west side is attached literally to 200 (E. High St.)," Burkhardt said. "So, if 200 comes down and that shared wall is failing, I'm like 'I'm sorry, but your building is going to come down, too.' It's going to happen eventually, but we just don't know when."

If the Wiebergs decide to repair, Burkhardt said, they would need to replace the wall. However, the estimated cost to repair the wall would exceed 50 percent of the building's value, the letter notes.

Burkhardt said Wednesday that if the Wiebergs do not abate the issue, the city may begin the administrative process to demolish the building.

The Wiebergs filed a counter petition Monday for a declaratory judgment against Neidert Properties in Cole County Circuit Court, saying Neidert Properties was liable for repair costs of the common wall, lost rental income, loss of property and property usage, and the Wiebergs' attorney's fees.

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This was in response to Neidert Properties filing a declaratory judgment action against the Wiebergs last month regarding which property owner is responsible for demolition or rebuilding and maintenance of the shared wall between the two properties.

While the property at 202 E. High St. is also structurally dependent on 204 E. High St., owned by Jay Seaver, Burkhardt said it appears the common wall between the two properties is not damaged. However, he said they would need to expose the wall to verify there is not damage.

Matt Green is renovating 204 E. High St. with plans to open Bar Vino.

Neidert Properties plans to demolish 200 E. High St. The city is giving Neidert Properties until Dec. 31 to demolish, Burkhardt previously said. If the property is not demolished by that date, he added, city staff may begin the administrative hearing for the city to demolish the building.

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