Careful planning pushes Liberty building demolition back a day

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LIBERTY, Mo. -- The demolition for the building at 1 North Water Street on the Liberty Square is now planned for Friday at 8 a.m. The building built in the 1880's collapsed on Tuesday morning.

The plan was for the building to be demolished Thursday night, but the city wants to make sure it's done slowly and correctly not to harm any of the surrounding businesses.

"The guy that was cleaning the carpets kind of screamed and said, oh my god, guys come over, the building just collapsed!" said Angel Montoya, a local business owner.

Montoya said he had people cleaning his restaurant and they were preparing for Cinco de Mayo when the building just down the street collapsed.

"They blocked the streets just like it is now, and I was kind of worried, because I thought it would affect the business," added Montoya.

But Montoya said it actually brought more business that day.

"People wanted to see what was going on, saw the restaurant, just walked in, a lot of cars were stuck here because they couldn't get out because all the fire trucks were there," Montoya said.

Sara Cooke with the City of Liberty said they were working on redoing the building for retail spaces, nothing was inside.

Now they're tearing down what's left of it on Friday morning.

It was originally planned for Thursday evening, but crews made the change to be sure structural engineers could shore up the building and bring in more heavy equipment.

"They're going to be very surgical and careful in the demolition, so that they can preserve the buildings on either side," Cooke said.

Cooke said there are some street closures, but people can still access them through sidewalks, but  otherwise, business will go on as usual.

"I think it's kind of disheartening when a building that's being renovated for new retail space goes into a situation like this, but we're hopeful that we'll rebound," Cooke added.

Montoya said while they're working to demolish the building, the clean-up, and all the redevelopment might affect business.

"There's not going to be a lot of parking for the customers, they're going to have to walk a little bit more in order to get to the restaurant," said Montoya.

But he said thankfully it's only temporary.

"I think it's a good thing what they're doing on the square, because I think in the long run it's going to bring more people to the square, it's going to look nicer," Montoya said.

This coming weekend is the first weekend of the farmers market season -- which is usually held on the square. The location was moved once due to construction happening in the city. Now it's moving again just for this weekend, as of now to Liberty Christian Church parking lot down the street.