The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 26, 2013

Main Street properties on market, owner says; three lots will soon be cleared after recent collapse, fire last year

By Susan Redden
news@joplinglobe.com

— The demolition of two buildings in the 900 block of Main Street may make the property more marketable, an owner said Friday.

Mark Williams, of Joplin, said he is part owner of the company that owns the former Carl Adams Building that collapsed on Wednesday and the building to the south currently being demolished at the direction of the city. A fire just over a year ago destroyed the Rains Brothers Building just to the north, which also was owned by the company.

“We’re saddened at what happened; we were trying to save the buildings,” he said. “But the fact that those lots are cleared may make it a clean slate for a new owner.”

Williams said he was out of town when the Carl Adams Building, 910-912 Main St., collapsed early Wednesday. At city instruction, crews have set about demolishing what was left of the four-story structure. City officials then determined the building to the south at 914 S. Main St. to be unstable, and have ordered it to be taken down as well.

Owners are not objecting to the order, Williams said.

All three of the buildings were listed on the National Register of Historic Places and were purchased by Williams and his partner investors during 2008. He did not identify his partners, saying he serves as local spokesman for the group.

He said plans to renovate the structures were sidelined by the economic downturn, which stalled bank lending, and by uncertainty over the future of historic preservation tax credits.

“They became a buy and hold proposition rather than buy and renovate,” he said.

The properties already were for sale and Williams said the demolition of the buildings could make the property more attractive for an investor.

“If they want to do something else with the property, they wouldn’t have the responsibility of tearing down the buildings. It leaves them a clean slate,” he said.

City officials determined the collapse of the former Adams building was started by a sagging roof weakened by recent rains. That pulled the top of the wall in and pushed the side wall out at the northeast corner, according to Jack Schaller, the city’s assistant public works director. After the collapse, the city determined the building to the south was dangerous, and ordered its demolition.