Engineers say 100-year-old building must be demolished

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A partial collapse of a 100-year-old building in Columbus Park at Missouri and Campbell has prompted structural engineers to call for the building's demolition.

Firefighters were dispatched to the building just after 10 a.m. Wednesday after a portion of the building fell onto a car. No one was hurt, but because businesses use the first floor, the building had to be evacuated.

Police taped off areas, and kept an officer on scene around the building to make sure no one got too close.

The city was going to allow the building's owner to stabilize the building in hopes of making repairs, but an assessment by structural engineers found floor rot, and determined the building was too dangerous to salvage.

On Thursday, Chris Hernandez, Director of City Communications, said the owner made private arrangements for demolition of the building.

"We expect the demolition to start tomorrow morning and to be completed within 48 hours," Hernandez said in a news release.

He said while the city would not handle the demolition it would continue to monitor the situation.

Folks who witnessed the initial collapse said it was quite a shock. The area where the bricks fell is a common place for locals to hang out in the evening, so neighbors said it was fortunate that the collapse happened in the morning.

Inspection records show the building has had a history of problems dating back at least 8 years.

The city said they began receiving complaints about the building in 2008, but it wasn't until 2013 that inspectors found safety issues like rotting boards inside the building.

The owner reportedly completed necessary repairs in 2015, but in February of this year inspectors found a collapsing retaining wall, broken windows, and trash on the property.

Just weeks ago, the city issued a summons for the owner to appear in court next month.

Mayor Sly James is pushing to tackle the larger issue of dangerous buildings throughout the city. A city database names nearly 800 properties considered dangerous. The mayor wants every building on the list to be demolished or renovated by 2018.