The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 6, 2014

Former Joplin City Market will soon be demolished

JOPLIN, Mo. — A historic Main Street building that at one time housed the Joplin City Market is destined for the wrecking ball, and some of Joplin’s preservationists say they hate to see it go.

The trustees who manage the property say they made the decision because of the condition of the building in the 1200 block of Main Street.

“The building has reached a point it has become dangerous, and we don’t want anyone injured,” said Jim Hardy, one of the trustees. “We’ll keep the land in the trust. We don’t have any interest in selling it.”

Several weeks ago, he said, some of the concrete blocks used to enclose windows on the Main Street side of the structure fell out, prompting the property managers to cover the windows and fence off that part of the property.

Hardy said bids are being accepted for the demolition of the building.

The building at one time was the home of H.E. Shank Fruit Co. It was constructed in 1914 for a Joplin City Market. It was sold by the city in 1947, and later was used by Joplin Little Theatre and also served as a site for Golden Gloves boxing competitions.

The building has been empty for years, except for storage. It was owned by Laverne Miller, who also owned the Joplin Flea Market property and other property in the area. Miller died in 2012, and the land now is in an estate, managed by trustees.

Hardy said that after the building is leveled, plans are for the land to be used for parking or to expand the nearby Joplin Flea Market.

Hardy said the trustees discussed demolition a year ago but agreed to wait when Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, the city’s master developer, wanted to look into possible uses for the building and adjacent properties.

Gary Box, a project manager for Wallace Bajjali, said the firm looked at the land as part of a proposal to move the downtown Joplin post office to that location. As part of the project, he said, the firm looked at bringing the city market building “back to good use.”

“But we were interested in an area between 12th and 14th streets and Main and Pennsylvania (Avenue), and they didn’t want to sell, so it became sort of a moot issue,” he said. “They’re in charge of the property, so we understand that.”

Hardy said that while the trustees are not interested in selling the property, they would have considered renting it to an entity interested in renovating the building. A local builder estimated renovation costs at $2 million, he added.

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