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story.lead_photo.caption The buildings at 200 and 202 E. High. St. sit in October as decisions are made about what to do with the crumbling building and it's neighbor. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

Document: 200-202 E. High St. Agreement

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Jefferson City will soon become the owner of the crumbling downtown building before it is demolished.

Andrew Neidert, current owner of 200 E. High St., must transfer the property by quit-claim deed to the city within 10 days of the agreement being executed, according to a settlement agreement between the city; Neidert; and Carol and Ruben Wieberg, owners of 202 E. High St.

After the transfer, the city will then demolish the north, south and west walls of 200 E. High St., leaving the shared wall between 200 and 202 E. High St. intact.

"This can hopefully conclude this whole situation with certainty and with an actionable plan," City Counselor Ryan Moehlman said.

Neidert did not return the News Tribune's request for comment Wednesday.

In addition to transferring the property to the city, Moehlman said, Neidert agreed to pay the city $7,300.

The Jefferson City Council approved a $186,000 contract with ARSI Inc. on Tuesday to demolish the north, south and west walls of 200 E. High St.

The city will not place a tax lien on 200 E. High St., Moehlman said.

"The city is going to take down the building (at 200 E. High St.); and in exchange for the city taking on the expense, the city receives the lot and the additional cash," Moehlman said.

City officials do not know what they will use the vacant lot for, Moehlman added.

Under the settlement agreement, Neidert will also transfer a clean title to the Wiebergs for the common wall 200 and 202 E. High St. share.

The Wiebergs must reinforce and secure the supporting wall within 21 days, according to the agreement. That period could be extended if weather does not permit the work.

The city will then issue written notice to ARSI Inc. that the company may proceed with demolishing 200 E. High St., Moehlman said.

ARSI Inc. must complete work within 30 days after receiving written notice from the city to proceed, according to the contract.

After ARSI Inc. demolishes 200 E. High St., the city will give the Wiebergs 90 days, weather permitting, to shore up the western side of the common wall and create an exterior masonry surface that fits with the surrounding neighborhood.

It's been more than a year and a half since the west wall of 200 E. High St. partially collapsed and the city ruled the common wall between the buildings at 200 and 202 E. High St. was failing, forcing businesses in both buildings to vacate.

The Wiebergs said they are happy to move forward.

"(The settlement agreement) is not perfect, but at least we're going forward with something positive instead of, 'Oh, we're going to tear down both of these buildings because it's easier,'" Carol said. "That would have been ridiculous. At least we're doing something positive, and we're saving a piece of the history."

The Wiebergs said they have interested renters ready to move into the vacant building once everything is taken care of.

If the Wiebergs can't complete the repair work within the timeframes, the agreement states, they must demolish the building at 202 E. High St. If they do not demolish the building, the city could demolish the structure.

If the city demolishes 202 E. High St., the Wiebergs would then convey the title to 202 E. High St. to the city, the agreement states.

For the last year and a half, the city gave Neidert and the Wiebergs several deadlines to repair or demolish their buildings, which they missed.

Most recently, the Wiebergs had until Dec. 9, 2019, to begin repairing or demolishing their building. If they didn't, the city threatened to begin the demolition process the following day. However, city staff opted not to begin the process last month so they could continue negotiations between Neidert and the Wiebergs.

Since fall 2018, Neidert and the Wiebergs have argued over who is responsible for repairing and maintaining the common wall, filing petitions with the Cole County Court.

Cole County Presiding Judge Pat Joyce ruled last year that Neidert owns the common wall and could demolish 200 E. High St.

The Wiebergs filed an appeal with the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals in October, asking the court to reconsider Joyce's judgment.

Neidert and the Wiebergs will dismiss the court cases, according to the settlement agreement.

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