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City Sells Former Leeper Hotel Property for $39,000
March 18, 2014 CT

The City of Chillicothe has announced the sale of the former Leeper Hotel property which sat vacant for nearly a year. Located in the heart of downtown Chillicothe, the property is located at Webster and Washington Streets and will include a new business and a new building. The city council approved the sale of property in executive meeting last week and announced the sale after Mayor Chuck Haney signed the contract with owners of a donut franchise located in Texas. The vote by the council was 4-1 with Councilman Wayne Cunningham casting the "nay" vote. Those voting in favor of the sale were Councilman-at-Large David Moore, First Ward Councilman Reed Dupy, Third Ward Councilman Tom Douglas, and Fourth Ward Councilman Paul Howard.

City Administrator Ike Holland said that four bids for the property were received by the city, and one was withdrawn prior to last week's council meeting. The successful bidder was PML-LLC (Donut Palace) and George Jackson III, Managing Partner, with a bid of $39,000. The Donut Palace has been in business 44 years and has more than 400 stores in 10 states.

Almost Complete
Constitution-Tribune's Demolition Video...
July 27, 2012

C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke
July 27 2012

Crews with Red Rock Construction of Hamilton, Missouri, worked to patch up the southern face of the Klinginsmith Chiropractic building which used to adjoin with the recently demolished Leeper Hotel Building on Thursday and have been doing so for the past week. Cement is being applied along the wall over a fence-like reinforcement wire mesh, which is shown being secured in place in the photograph above by a Red Rock employee.

Countdown to Completion
July 12, 2012

C-T Photo / Amanda McKay

CAPTION: Red Rock workers, out of Hamilton, Missouri, were pulling final pieces of debris from the now leveled spot where the Leeper Hotel once stood. Power washing cleared most of the remnents from the north wall that once adjoined the Leeper with the Klinginsmith building to the north. Red Rock worked this morning to scrape even more from the now exterior wall.

The demolition of the former Leeper Hotel building will soon be complete. The demolition, now nearly 99 percent complete according to the Codes Enforcement Office should be done within the confines of next week. Derrick Fee, of Red Rock Construction, said this morning that he plans on being done this Sunday.

Dirt has been hauled to the site in the past 10 days to use to fill the giant hole, and work also has been done, and the contractor is ready to prepare to seed the area. Red Rock is also still working to clear the excess rock and debris along the east side of the demolition site and haul it away. They will also apply cement to the now-southern face wall.

Once the area is completely cleared, Fee said that they will move the blanket of black dirt down and then will seed and mulch the area. Fee also stated that Red rock would water the area for 30 days until grass is growing.

According to statements made by Mayor Chuck Haney, the final demolition work includes a small portion of the front of the building facing Washington Street at the north side and adjacent to the Klinginsmith building which has a common wall. The steel and brick is expected to be removed by the end of the week by Red Rock, of Hamilton. Red Rock was contracted to do the demolition work for $175,000, per Fee. The original contract was slated to come to an end late last week. Fee stated, however, that due to the fire at the Leeper that took place on June 2, work was unable to be completed by that date. The fire broke out in the late afternoon hours and caused portions of Highway 65 along Chillicothe's downtown area to be blocked off for several hours. Firefighters from several stations in the surrounding area responded to the blaze well into the night.

"The city remains the owner of the property, and until all work is complete at the site, the wooden safety front barrier will remain in place," said Haney. "Once all operations are complete there will be a cleaning of the area." At this time, the city has not decided what to do with the vacant property. Haney stated that the area will more than likely not become a parking lot or a park, of which the city already has several of in the downtown area. There have been several suggestions made to members of the city council, as well as the mayor and administrator, but there has been no public sessions held in that regard.

C-T Photo / Amanda McKay

CAPTION: Red Rock Construction crews worked on the south side face of the Klinginsmith Chiropractic builidng is, and where the Leeper Hotel Building once stood, on Thursday. The lot where the Leeper was before now appears as a flat dirt surface. A majority of the hotel's remains have been hauled away by Red Rock over the last few months. On Wednesday afternoon, the group was powerwashing the side of the Klinginsmith's.

Room With a View
June 21, 2012

C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke

Since its demolition began in early May, the Leeper Hotel building has gone from dilapidated structure to nearly non-existent - its remains reduced to piles of bricks along the closed-off portion of Webster Street. The demolition has also opened a view to the skating rink from Washington Street. Red Rock Construction, of Hamilton, Missouri, is in charge of the project.

Leeper Demo Continues

C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke

Deconstruction processes regarding the Leeper Hotel building continued on Wednesday, May 23. In the background, we see a scoop moving piles of debris to designated areas from what is left of the structure's interior. Demolition began back on Monday, May 7. Red Rock Construction, out of Hamilton, Missouri, is in charge of the project.

New Street-Scape Emerging
May 18 2012

C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke

The street-scape along the downtown Chillicothe square is changing daily, as the four-story Leeper Hotel building continues to come down brick by brick. Red Rock of Hamilton has worked daily on the structure, even into the evening hours, as many have stopped to watch their progress. The demolition company is working its way towards the center of the building, saving the north wall (connected to another office and residence) for last.

Changing Landscape
05 15 12

C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke

Chillicothe's downtown landscape is rapidly changing as a demolition crew is taking down the four-story Leeper hotel building at the northwest corner of Webster and Washington streets. On Monday evening, the crew moved to the Leeper's north wall, above where the structure abuts another building.

Leeper Demolition Begins
May 8, 2012 CT

CAPTION: Webster Street, along the block between Washington Street and Cherry, has been closed to the public during the demolition of the Leeper Hotel building, which began Monday. Red Rock Construction, of Hamilton, Missouri, is in charge of the project.

C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke

The demolition of the historic Leeper Hotel building began on Monday. City Administrator Ike Holland said the tear-down process would take 90 days to complete, leaving the finish date at somewhere around the second week in August.

Webster Street has been closed off, Holland said, for "basically the length of the [Leeper] building". That closure (from Washington Street and about halfway down the block, going west, that ends at Cherry Street) will remain closed during the de-construction process. No other streets are, as of this moment, planned for closure during the process, Holland said.

Red Rock Construction, of Hamilton, Mo., is in charge of the demolition project. At this time, Holland says that the day-by-day proceedings are in their hands - primarily company head Derrick Fee. "At this juncture, it's his show. To be honest, I haven't been communicating with them daily," Holland said. "As you go through the process with a building, things change." Holland said that due to the possibility of said changes, including measures taken to prevent structural collapse, or other unforeseen occurrences, he has been lax on communicating a strict schedule. "This is just week-by-week," said Holland. "[Red Rock is] starting with the roof, then the west end of the building."

The upper southwestern portion of the building contained a large hole as of Tuesday morning, where a part of the structure had been removed. Holland says that the de-construction process will take out the outer walls first, working toward the northern wall, which connects to structures which are not set for demolition. The north wall will be avoided. The Leeper also houses a basement, which will be dug out and filled in with dirt. The spot will then be sodded over, so that grass can grow there.

Holland previously stated that Red Rock will be piling up the debris from the demolition and then hauling said remains away. That is still the plan. Holland admitted on Tuesday morning, however, that he is unaware of where, exactly, said remains will be hauled to. "Some of it - I think [Derrick] sells it," he said.

Preparatory work for the demolition began on April 24. Prior to that, asbestos clean-up efforts took place within the structure, to make it safe to tear down.

Holland is still seeking ideas for what to do with the property once the final bits of what remain of the Leeper Hotel are finally taken away, from both the community and the Chillicothe City Council. "I've had the typical [suggestions]," Holland said. "Anything from a park, to a parking lot, to selling the property and having it re-developed. None of those are particularly unique."

Leeper Demolition to Begin
CT May 4, 2012

Chillicothe City Administrator Ike Holland has revealed that the demolition of the Leeper Hotel building, 702 Washington, Street, will begin next week. "It's going to take 90 days," Holland said. Demolition will begin on the western side (back) of the building. A claw will be used to scrape away and pile remains of the building, until enough is stacked to be hauled away, via loading truck. The north wall of the building, which is shared with several apartment-dwellers and businesses along Washington Street, must be then dealt with in a delicate fashion, Holland said, to avoid accidents. "[Red Rock will] leave that wall for last," he said. "We have to be very careful with the walls of the buildings remaining."

Red Rock Construction, out of Hamilton, Missouri, is in charge of the demolition process. New Horizons, LLC, of Kansas City, Mo., has been removing asbestos from the structure over the past few weeks, as a pre-demolition necessity. Holland said that the Leeper building also houses a basement, which will have to be, itself, dug out and hauled away. The area will then be filled with dirt and sodded over, making way for grass to grow. "The sidewalk will remain," Holland said. "Once the project is done, that will be the next stage."

The administrator said that he will begin taking suggestions from the members of the Chillicothe community, as well as from the city council, when determining what will happen to the vacant lot. He mentioned sale of the property as a possibility, as well.

For now, Holland warns those who are using the sidewalks on the west side of Washington Street to be wary of their surroundings, including their travels in front of the Leeper building during demolition. "You don't get a lot of pedestrian traffic around here," he said. "I wouldn't advise people to walk out into the street." Instead, Holland said, perhaps it would be best for citizens to either walk behind the building, or to go around the blocked off sidewalk area, via posted crosswalks.

Leeper Cleanup Under Way
March 27 2012

C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke

Clean-up crews were out at Chillicothe's Leeper Hotel building Monday afternoon, cleaning the area before demolition of the structure begins. Asbestos must be removed from the Leeper before the building is razed in avoidance of possible safety hazards associated with the once-prominent building.

Days Numbered for Historic Building
March 13, 2012

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

CAPTION: Contractors have started removing asbestos from the four-story building at the northwest corner of Washington and Webster streets in preparation for its demolition later this summer. City Council members on Monday awarded the demolition contract to Red Rock Demolition.

With the decision to raze the old Leeper Hotel building having been made several months ago, it didn't take long Monday night for City Council members to select the company to move forward with the structure's demolition. Since its construction nearly 130 years ago at the northwest corner of Webster and Washington streets, this building has been a focal point of downtown Chillicothe. The building has, however, sat vacant for many years and has been deemed a public liability. After the last proposal - by an outside developer to rehabilitate the structure and turn it into apartments - failed to garner enough city council support a couple of months ago, the council proceeded with plans to raze the building.

Currently, New Horizons, LLC, of Kansas City, Mo., is removing asbestos from the building. That process began Monday, and the company has 60 days to complete the abatement. When that process is finished (expected to be within 60 days), and the building clears Department of Natural Resources approval, then demolition can begin.

During their council meeting Monday, city officials voted 4-1, to award the demolition bid to Red Rock Demolition, of Hamilton, in the amount of $175,000. Three other companies submitted bids, all of which were higher, including one which came in at $393,000. Several years ago, Red Rock contracted with the Chillicothe R-2 School District to take down the old high school building. The company also recently removed a four-story apartment building near Bishop Hogan School. According to contract specs, the company will have 60 days after DNR's inspection to take down the four-story structure and clear the site.

The Leeper hotel building was constructed in 1884 and is one of the city's oldest structures. It sat vacant for many years and, about three years ago, was deemed a safety hazard by the city. Barricades were placed around the structure.

Council members voted 4-1 for Red Rock to handle the demolition, with 4th Ward Councilwoman Pam Jarding, who has advocated alternatives for razing the structure, voting against the measure.

UPDATE: AT&T will be working this week on removing phone lines from the building and part of this work involves digging on Webster Street. The road will be reduced to one lane traffic, at times, according to Mayor Chuck Haney.

Historic Leeper Moves Closer to Being Razed
02 28 12 CT

The historic Leeper hotel building in downtown Chillicothe is moving toward summer demolition, with the city's latest action being the selection of a company to rid the four-story structure of asbestos.

Chillicothe City Council members Monday night approved, with a 4-1 vote, the bid from New Horizons, LLC, of Kansas City, Missouri, for the asbestos abatement in the amount of $67,291. This bid was substantially less than the only other qualifying bid submitted, in the amount of $158,320, although higher than the engineer's estimate of $60,000.

The 1884 building is located at the northwest corner of Washington and Webster streets, immediately northwest of the Livingston County Courthouse. Actual work on the asbestos abatement is expected to start in mid-March and be completed within 60 days. Bids for the building's actual demolition are now being sought with the deadline for submitting bids being Tuesday, March 6. City Administrator Ike Holland stated that demolition could occur perhaps as early as June. Fourth Ward City Councilwoman Pam Jarding, who has advocated alternatives for razing the structure, voted against the asbestos bid.

City Turns Down Leeper Plan
Demolition plans to advance
01 11 2012 By Catherine Stortz Ripley

CAPTION: Crystal Narr, director of Main Street Chillicothe, makes an appeal to Chillicothe City Council members to support a developer's plan to renovate the historic Leeper hotel building in downtown. After two hours of discussions by the prospective developer, council members and members of the public, both supporting and opposing the project, the council voted 4-1 to not grant the developer the opportunity to renovate the building. Plans now advance for the city to raze the building, with the estimated date of demolition possibly as soon as late summer or early fall.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

Supporters, opponents and merely interested persons filled the council chambers at City Hall Tuesday evening to participate in and hear discussions about turning downtown's old Leeper hotel building into apartments and retail space. Following two hours of comments, 4th Ward Councilwoman Pam Jarding asked her colleagues to support the redevelopment effort; but, when the time came to decide whether to proceed with the plan, the measure failed with a 1-4 vote.

The city will now move forward with plans to raze the 1884 building immediately northwest of the Livingston County Courthouse, with demolition to come possibly as soon as late summer or early fall.

The Leeper's visual appearance of deterioration has been an issue for decades and had, in recent years, become a safety concern for the city. The building was privately owned until June 2010 when the city bought it. Since that time Main Street Chillicothe had worked to locate someone to redevelop the building and spare it from destruction. Meanwhile, the city had set aside $250,000 for the structure's demolition.

In August 2011, Tim Boyle, of St. Louis, Mo., entered the picture with a plan to keep the shell of the building in place, and transform the interior into apartments and retail space. His plan called for acquiring the $250,000 the city had set aside for anticipated demolition, using $75,000 pledged by Chillicothe Development Corporation, and using revenues from tax increment and community improvement districts that would need to be established. He estimated the entire project to cost between $3.5 million and $4.5 million.

Most of the people addressing the council Tuesday supported the building's renovation plan and urged the city to take action to preserve this element of history. The proposal, they said, would transform the four-story building into a "viable building" rather than a "hole." A few people in the audience and some council members voiced hesitation, citing concerns over the $250,000 that would have been required from the city for the project, inadequate parking availability, the creation of tax increment and community improvement districts to subsidize the project, and unanswered questions.

Boyle's plan called for establishing between 15 and 21 market rate apartment units on the upper floors that could be rented at $900 per month for a two-bedroom unit. Narr said there is a demand for rental units in Chillicothe and units of similar size as to what was proposed are currently being rented for $800 to $1,200 per month. Boyle said his proposal created no financial risk to the city because the agreement would be written so that if the project would not get fully financed, the city would have spent nothing and would still own and control the building. Representatives of Main Street Chillicothe and Chillicothe Development Corporation, which have supported the building renovation project, urged the council to take action to preserve history.

Those speaking in favor of the project included Main Street Director Crystal Narr, Ed Milbank, Steve Franke, Kris Daniel, Daniel Savage, and Dr. Robert Klinginsmith. Narr said that Main Street's top two goals for 2011 were to save the Leeper from demolition and work toward sustainable funding for the Main Street organization. Since its creation, the city has helped fund Main Street Chillicothe. Narr said that the creation of a community improvement district has been considered as a way to help reach sustainable funding for the organization.

CDC President Steve Franke voiced his organization's support of the project. "It's not about taxes," he said. "It's about whether you want to save the Leeper or not. We have a gentlemen here who wants to move forward with that and we would appreciate your support."

Dr. Klinginsmith, who has for 30 years leased the building that abuts and shares a wall with the Leeper for his chiropractic business and living quarters, voiced support of restoring the Leeper. "What's going to happen to my building? One of my concerns is that if you tear that [Leeper] building down, there is going to be a whole block that will be gone," he said.

Among those speaking in opposition to the project were Licha Kelley-King and Patricia Anderson. Council members also expressed their concerns with the project. Councilman-at-Large David Moore questioned the feasibility of the overall project and the subsidies that would be needed through TIF#8200;and CID revenues. Second Ward Councilman Wayne Cunningham also shared his thoughts and brought forward comments he had heard from downtown business owners. "The business people I talked to don't think it is fair to finance the Leeper hotel... because we don't know how long the tax will go on," Cunningham said. He also stated that there were concerns about the money going to the Leeper.

Before the vote was taken, Jarding offered her comments. "History is repeating itself that people are wanting to come to downtown," she said. "We are very fortunate because we have very few buildings without somebody in them. If we bring in new retail to the Main Street area, it will bring more business to other retailers downtown. Everybody is going to reap the benefits of that." "We are on a path of tearing down," she added. "Once we tear down history, we will never get it back."

Franke said that his organization was disappointed by the council's decision. "We were behind this project," he said of CDC. "We were disappointed that the council didn't vote positively on this. We brought a guy in from St. Louis who is well known and had a successful track record. I would hope that the city council would possibly go back, sit down with the city attorney and work something out." He said that establishing TIFs and CIDs were a small component of the overall project. "A lot of people would like to see something here rather than tear down a downtown cornerstone building," he added.

Leeper Talks Continue
01 06 12

CAPTION: Community members, as well as downtown business and property owners, attended a meeting at Strand Apartments Thursday evening to hear a developer's plans about wanting to renovate the vacant four-story 128-year-old Leeper hotel building in downtown Chillicothe. The proposal involves creating a tax increment financing district and a community improvement district to generate funds to renovate the building as well as make improvements throughout the downtown area. Chillicothe City Council members are expected to further discuss the proposal at their regular meeting Tuesday evening.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

A developer who wants to renovate one of Chillicothe's oldest buildings met with around 30 members of the public Thursday evening to further discuss his ideas for the vacant four-story downtown structure. Tim Boyle, of City Property Company, of St. Louis, Mo., was at Strand Apartments Thursday evening to discuss plans for the old Leeper hotel building, which was built in 1884. Boyle has been working with Main Street Chillicothe since August on ways to spare the building from demolition by redeveloping the structure into apartments and retail space. He presented his plan to the Chillicothe City Council in December and estimated that the project would cost between $3.5 million and $4.5 million, depending on the number of units developed.

In order to make the plan work, Boyle said that a tax increment finance district and a community improvement district would need to be created. Boyle talked briefly about both financing mechanisms during his presentation Thursday. He said that the TIF Commission would need to agree to adopt a TIF district for downtown and that the district would include the Walgreen's store. He said that the downtown property owners would need to establish a CID which would have the same area as the TIF district. The funds that would be generated by the TIF and CID would be utilized for the Leeper's financing as well as to finance other downtown operations and capital improvements, Boyle said.

About a third of Thursday evening's crowd were downtown business and property owners.

The Leeper building is owned by the city, and the city's intent has been to demolish the structure, having set aside funds in the current budget year for its demolition, stating that it has been an eyesore for many years and is a safety threat. The structure was originally referred to as the Leeper House when it was constructed in 1884. It was first built as an L-shaped, three-story building. Then, in 1915, a wing and a fourth-floor was added. About 10 years later, the building was refaced.

The council is slated to further discuss Boyle's proposal during its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday evening at City Hall. (The council meeting has been moved from Monday because city officials would be in Jefferson City attending the presentation of the Certificate of Need which is a required step in order for St. Luke's hospital project to proceed). Boyle seeks council approval to proceed with the possibility of renovating the building with the goal that he could close on financing by mid- to late-summer 2012 and complete construction by summer 2013.

CIDC has agreed to contribute $75,000 to the funding of the project, making the funds immediately available. The funds are for predevelopment costs which includes an architectural firm to make comprehensive measurements, make a structural assessment for its redevelopment, and complete design development drawings.

The agreement proposed with the city would state that the building would be sold only if the developer can get financing in order. If not, the agreement to sell the building becomes null and void, and the building remains in the city's possession. The agreement, Boyle said, would be written so that if the project cannot get fully financed, the city would not have spent any funds and that the city would still own and control the building.

New Year, New Idea for Old Building
01 03 2012

CAPTION: The old Leeper Hotel building, which has been vacant for several years at the northwest corner of Washington and Webster streets, remains surrounded by yellow barricades in 2012 as a new plan unfolds to spare the four-story structure from demolition. The public is invited to a "meet and greet" event at 6 p.m. Thursday, January 5, 2012, in the community room at the Strand Apartments to hear from a developer who wants to convert the building into apartments and retail space. The city, which owns the building, has planned to raze the structure.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

A developer who wants to renovate one of Chillicothe's oldest buildings will meet with the public this week to further discuss his ideas for the vacant structure. Tim Boyle, of City Property Company, of St. Louis, Mo., will be at the community room of the Strand Apartments to discuss plans for the old Leeper hotel building, which was built in 1884.

Boyle has been working with Main Street Chillicothe on ways to spare the building from demolition. His plan is to redevelop the structure into apartments and retail space. "Mr. Boyle comes with an extensive background in historic property redevelopment over the past 20 years and looks forward to working in the Chillicothe community," said Crystal Narr, director of Main Street Chillicothe.

Boyle has developed a plan to renovate the property which was presented to the Chillicothe City Council on Monday, December 12, 2011. Area residents are encouraged to visit with Boyle on Thursday. "This will serve as an opportunity to address any questions, voice comments and learn about the benefits of a fully revitalized building in downtown Chillicothe," Narr said. The project is estimated to cost between $3.5 million and $4.5 million, depending on the number of units developed, Boyle had told the council last month.

The building is owned by the city and the city's intent has been to demolish the structure, having set aside funds in the current budget year for its demolition, stating that it has been an eyesore for many years and is a safety threat.

Leeper Future on Hold
12 13 11

A developer from the St. Louis area says he sees potential life in the historic Leeper hotel building and has asked the Chillicothe City Council for the opportunity to renovate the structure before the city proceeds with demolition. Tim Boyle, president of City Property Company, addressed council members during their regular meeting Monday evening at City Hall. He had been working on this concept with Main Street Chillicothe and Chillicothe Development Corporation since this summer.

"Chillicothe stands out as a community larger than its footprint," Boyle said. "This community has a lot of pride... and you have a wonderful downtown. There are a lot of great things going on." Boyle's proposal is to redevelop the building - which is one of the city's oldest structures having been built in 1884 - into apartments and retail space. The project is estimated to cost between $3.5 million and $4.5 million, depending on the number of units developed. The building is owned by the city.

Boyle sought immediate approval from the council to proceed with his proposal so as to expedite the project and stabilize the building; however, some council members said they wanted time to gather input from the public before taking a vote. Third Ward Councilman Tom Douglas made the motion to table discussion until the first meeting in January, and the motion passed with a 5-0 vote.

The city's intent has been to demolish the building, having set aside $200,000 in the current budget year for its demolition and stating that it has been an eyesore for many years and is a safety threat. The city applied for grant funds to help pay for its demolition, but recently received notification that they were denied the funding.

Boyle is asking that the city contribute the funds it would have spent on demolition to the redevelopment project. He also proposes that the city would sell the building to him for $1 and that the city and buyer would enter into a contract of sale which would provide that the sale would only occur if and when he is able to secure the financing for the project and the loans for financing are closed. If Boyle is unable to get the project financed, the city will have spent nothing, the contract on the property would terminate, and the city could demolish it at that time. "It is possible that we get four to five months down the road and see that it is not going to happen," he said. "If that happens, you have not risked a nickel." Boyle's timeline, according to the proposal, is to have the Leeper remodeled and open by March 1, 2013.

The scope of the project is to develop the Leeper into about 15 to 21 higher-end market rate apartments. Some or all of the apartments may have corporate tenants, who use the units similar to an extended-stay hotel. The first floor would also provide space for storefront retail. Boyle talked about the trend of people wanting to move back into downtown areas.

The proposal calls for the city creating a Community Improvement District and a Tax Increment Finance District downtown. His request is that the city assists in the creating of overlapping TIF and CID districts, having boundaries which would be the parameter of downtown and would include Walgreens. A portion of the income stream from the TIF and CID districts would be dedicated for the redevelopment of the Leeper.

Boyle proposed that he would immediately stabilize the Leeper by correcting the unsafe conditions which affect the users of the adjacent sidewalks, and by sealing the windows, removing or fixing loose bricks, covering the roof, removing debris, etc. He would also direct other actions appropriate to making the building safe to be in and around. This would allow the city to remove their current barricades around the area. Additionally, Boyle would direct work to be done to improve the building's appearance during the predevelopment period, with the intent that the building not be the "eyesore" that it is currently seen as, thus indicating to the public that improvements are imminent, and assisting in the marketing of the future project.

CDC has agreed to give Boyle $75,000 to use in stabilizing the building and to pay costs up to a maximum of $25,000 for predevelopment costs, which include an architectural firm to take comprehensive measurements, create as-is documents, make a structural assessment for the Leeper's redevelopment, and complete design development drawings, with supporting renderings of exterior, site, and floor plans, as well as additional studies, which may include the historic application and consulting, marketing study, an environmental study, an appraisal and land surveying.

First Ward Councilman Wayne Cunningham and Douglas said they were not against the proposal, but that they had concerns about the project. Fourth Ward Councilwoman Pam Jarding said she would like to see the structure renovated and bringing in tax dollars, rather than razed. "It makes more economic sense than what we have now or what we could have with a hole in the ground," she said. "We need to seriously think about this."

Boyle said projects such as this Leeper proposal are a reason why TIF districts were created. "It currently is an old building and is not collecting sales tax," he said. "Renovating the building would be an asset to the downtown area, and would preserve a piece of local history," Boyle said. "This 1884 building has got huge history," he said. "We can turn it into something good for the community. It is about putting life back into this building; it is about downtown revitalization."

City Denied Demo Grant
11 16 11

The city of Chillicothe's hope to receive a $300,000 grant to demolish more than 40 dilapidated, vacant residential homes throughout the city (and the old Leeper hotel building) vanished after officials received notification that the city's application had been denied.

Notification came from the Department of Economic Development last week, stating that the city's application did not achieve a sufficient score to warrant recommendation of funding. The application was submitted last spring with 46 properties (including the old Leeper building) identified as being in need of demolition.

The total project cost of demolition was estimated at $474,506. If approved, the grant would have paid $300,000, the homeowners would have paid $21,500 (at a rate of $500 per structure), with the city paying the remaining cost of $153,006. The city's share would have been broken down into $117,225 in cash and $35,781 of in-kind labor.

Chillicothe Mayor Chuck Haney said he was disappointed that the city's application was denied and said that the city planned to look into other options for taking care of some of the city's dilapidated structures. The city's current budget has set aside $200,000 for the demolition of the Leeper building.

Leeper Discussion Resurrected at Monday's City Council
By Drew Van Dyke, C-T Writer, July 29, 2011

Close to halfway through Monday night's (July 25) meeting of the Chillicothe City Council, councilwoman Pam Jarding requested discussion of the Leeper Hotel building. "I know this has been an interesting topic," Jarding said.

The discussion that followed took up a majority of the mid-portions of the meeting, as Mayor Chuck Haney lifted the five-minute speech time limit to give adequate time for debate to occur and facts to be presented by both the Council and by Jarding's representatives, Main Street Chillicothe director Crystal Narr and Main Street intern and historical preservationist Eric Wallace. Jarding said that her reasoning behind bringing the building up again was a recent meeting she went to, in which she began to associate the older structures in town to older persons, in the stories, history, and experience they bring compared to newer - or "younger" - structures. "I think we need to look more towards the preservation and not the tearing down," Jarding said. She asked that the Council listen to reasoning from the pair of presenters, and keep an open mind in terms of options for the Leeper.

This was a theme repeated multiple times throughout the appearances from Narr and Wallace. "The Leeper has been a thorn in all of our sides," Narr began. "Probably mine more than others." She introduced Wallace, and the two went over the findings of a May 2010 report on the Leeper building, stating that while there were bad roofing problems over the site, that the building itself was never labeled as "structurally unsound" - often the reasoning associated with need for demolition of the Leeper.

Wallace, a resident of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, considered his viewpoint one of an outsider in the situation, citing this as a point of view not taken on the matter in past considerations. "Driving through downtown Chillicothe is impressive," Wallace said. His belief is that the Leeper, with refurbishment, would be an ideal place of revenue for the city, with the possibility of established senior or low-income housing, or office space being options. Wallace admitted he had never actually been within the structure, itself, but that he knew by studying the layout and paperwork on the building that demolition could be a problematic solution to the ordeal, as it could cause irreparable damage to building which shares a retaining wall with the Leeper. This building is home to several Chillicothe residents, and the shared wall was never built to withstand conditions as an outdoor standing facade, Wallace explained. Demolishing the building could not only destroy the adjacent building, but could destroy homes in the process.

Councilman Tom Douglas took the floor to confront Wallace on his claim of never entering the structure. Douglas pointed out that he took a tour of the building himself, and couldn't get past the fourth floor. From that location, he said, he could look straight up and see the sky, and then straight down and see the basement. Douglas, accompanied by councilman Wayne Cunningham, who once took residence in the Leeper, he said, issued their concerns regarding the city's liability if they left the building standing, for citizens making travel around, in, or near the perimeter. Narr countered these statements, saying that most of the debris which has fallen from the structure is due to items left atop the roof which have blown off, not from structural deterioration. Wallace again assured those in the room that the outside structure of the Leeper building was very much intact, and that it was the roof and the interior which would need refurbishing.

Narr and Wallace asked for time to search for a bid to buy the building from the city and restore it, and for the city to keep an open mind towards the opportunities the Leeper building could present with a little work. The Council shot down the idea of time, stating that they would begin taking demolition bids in August, as soon as they expect allocated grant funding would become available. They did state that if the pair could find a buyer before that time, though, that the Council might consider taking another look at their proposal. No vote was taken on the matter. "It'd have to be pretty grand, though," said Councilman-at-large David Moore, regarding a possible bid.

"History is very important," Jarding said, in closing. "I don't think they want to wait," Mayor Chuck Haney said, in reference to the Council, after the meeting. "We’re liable for anything that happens over there. It's a dead issue. If the grant doesn't come in, we have the money put away. It's a liability. It needs to come down."

Grant Would Help Clean Town - click here for updated news on demolition grant
By Catherine Stortz Ripley, Constitution-Tribune, April 27, 2011

Historic Leeper to Be Demolished - click here for updated demolition news 01/31/11
Constitution-Tribune, September 28, 2010

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

CAPTION: The old Leeper Hotel (the large four-story building pictured), rich in local history and once a grand showpiece of Chillicothe, will be razed. Chillicothe City Council members voted unanimously during their regular meeting Monday evening to demolish the structure. The building, located at the northwest corner of Webster and Washington streets, was built in 1884 and is one of the city's oldest buildings. It has sat vacant for many years and last summer was deemed a safety hazard by the city which placed barricades around the structure.

After decades of indecision involving the old vacant Leeper hotel building in downtown Chillicothe, City Council members unanimously voted Monday night to have the structure razed.

Kris Daniel, who had served as a member of the committee to study the future of the Leeper Hotel building, presented the committee's recommendation during Monday's city council meeting. "All members of the committee approached our decision with the thought that the building should be saved if feasible," Daniel told the council. "It is disheartening to all of us that we have reached the conclusion that it is beyond repair. We know how unfortunate it is that we will lose such a significant part of our town not only for the presence of the building itself, but also for its historical significance... With regret, the board reached the unanimous decision to demolish the building."

After making the presentation, Daniel, on behalf of the Leeper study group, told council members that it was the committee's recommendation that the area is redeveloped into an appropriate space which will benefit the community's historic downtown area.

Leeper Group to Form
City and Main Street organizing to address historic building's future
By Catherine Stortz Ripley, Constitution-Tribune, Aug 31, 2010

A panel comprised of representatives from the city of Chillicothe and Main Street Chillicothe is being formed to help the entities reach a decision about the future of the old vacant Leeper hotel building at the northwest corner of Webster and Washington streets.

The findings of a structural report were discussed during the semimonthly meeting of the Chillicothe City Council Monday night. The council approved the city administrator's recommendation to place 1st Ward Councilman Sid Cornell and 3rd Ward Councilman Tom Douglas on the committee. Main Street Chillicothe Director Crystal Narr said her organization would be making appointments to the board soon. Once formed, the committee will meet and discuss what the next step should be regarding the deteriorating building and report to the City Council at its regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 27.

The structural report issued by Trabue, Hansen and Hinshaw Inc., of Columbia, Mo., (a firm hired by Main Street Chillicothe and Chillicothe Development Corp.), stated that the building is in poor but stable condition. The report stated that the building presently is not in danger of collapse; however, its deterioration is remarkably advanced in some areas and should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent further, accelerated decay.

Based on figures obtained by Narr, it was roughly estimated that it would take $250,000 to stabilize the building. This would include repairing or replacing the roof where necessary, taking care of masonry work on minor cracks, and doing some interior cleanup and stabilization. Although the roof was in desperate need of attention, Narr said the majority of the roof has a good slope which would cut down on roof replacement costs. She noted that grant funds up to $400,000 could be made available for renovating the structure.

Findings Outlined in Report
Leeper in poor, but stable condition
Constitution-Tribune, Aug 30, 2010

The old Leeper building is in poor but stable condition. That's the conclusion in a report issued by the firm of Trabue, Hansen and Hinshaw Inc., of Columbia, Mo., which was hired by Main Street Chillicothe and Chillicothe Development Corp. to perform a visual observation of the general condition of the building.

The full report will be presented and discussed by Main Street Chillicothe representatives during the regular City Council meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday. In the study, the Columbia firm was also to place emphasis on studying the structural stability and necessary measures to maintain the stability of the structure.

The city recently acquired the historic building. The building has been unoccupied for many years, with little or no preventative maintenance performed, the report states. This has resulted in deterioration of several structural elements.

"Based upon our observation, we do not feel that the building presently is in danger of collapse; however, its deterioration is remarkably advanced in some areas and should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent further, accelerated decay," the report stated. Observations of both the interior and exterior show the foundations to be in generally good condition. No settlement was observed and no significant cracking was observed in the foundations.

The report states that portions of the floors are in good condition; however, regions where the roof or walls are compromised exhibit varying degrees of deterioration resulting from constant exposure to moisture. The localized deterioration of the floors poses a safety issue to occupants, but it does not compromise the overall stability of the structure.

Main Street to Fund Survey of Leeper Building
Constitution-Tribune, July 30, 2010

Per Chillicothe City Council's request, the Main Street Chillicothe Board of Directors voted Thursday in favor of covering the cost of the structural engineering evaluation and report with the firm of Trabue, Hansen & Hinshaw, Inc. of Columbia, Mo., despite the firm's estimated cost of $3,100 ($1,100 over the $2,000 Main Street had originally appropriated).

The executed agreement has been sent to the firm and was followed by a phone call. According to Main Street officials, Kris Bezenek, the supervising structural engineer with Trabue, Hansen & Hinshaw, Inc., stated that he will finalize the work schedule for the Leeper evaluation on Monday and would ask that the building be available later in the week for the evaluation itself. Following the evaluation, the report should be in Main Street's hands within a two-week timeframe, thereby complying with the city's imposed deadline of Aug. 31, 2010.

Deadline for Leeper
Council gives Main Street until Friday to choose engineer
Constitution-Tribune, July 27, 2010

The next continuum in the Leeper Hotel is in Main Street Chillicothe's hands. Council members voted unanimously against participating in the cost of the structural engineer to inspect the Leeper building at last night's city council meeting.

Councilman Tom Douglas made a motion to permit Main Street to pay in full for an engineer of their choosing, specifying that the city would not contribute towards the cost, giving Main Street until this Friday to come up with a decision.

The Main Street Chillicothe office solicited and collected cost estimates/proposals from four engineering firms. Once received, the information was then compiled and distributed to the Main Street Board of Directors. The board voted 5-2 in favor of Trabue, Hansen & Hinshaw, Inc., a firm out of Columbia, Mo., with a cost estimate of $3,100. The firm had completed several other projects that were similar to the evaluation of the Leeper Building.

City council members suggested last night that Main Street's interest might be just as served by going with Shafer, Kline & Warren, receiving two votes from the Main Street board, with an estimated cost of $1,800. Shafer, Kline, and Warren was also the only firm out of the four submitting proposals with cost estimates under the $2,000 contribution from Main Street. The council subsequently noted that Main Street can hire whomever they choose if they want to pay for it. "I don't see where it will benefit payng more," said Douglas. "It's still a problem that's not getting any better."

The 4-story wood and masonry structure located at 702 Washington sits vacant and in a state of disrepair. The council is giving Main Street until Friday to chose an engineer so that the inspection of the building could be finished by the end of August. If the city does not hear by Friday, the city can only assume that Main Street has no interest in obtaining an engineer for the purpose of possibly repairing the aged hotel.

Crystal Narr, Main Street director, said that her office received notice of the council's decision this morning (Tuesday) and had no comment at that time. Main Street Chillicothe is set to discuss the next step at a board meeting Tuesday afternoon. "We don't own the building," said Narr. "We're just trying to help."

City Owns Leeper
Aging building signed over; Main Street to find inspector
Constitution-Tribune, July 09, 2010

The City of Chillicothe is now the owner of the old Leeper Hotel. Council members had given prior permission nearly two months ago to City Attorney Adam Warren to pursue legal options to enable city representatives to get inside and conduct a structural inspection of the old vacant building in downtown Chillicothe.

Warren had been in correspondence with the building's owner, who just recently signed the old hotel over to the City of Chillicothe, and as of today, the Leeper is property of the City.

City Administrator Dean Brookshier said this morning (Friday) that the next step is having a structural engineer come in to evaluate the building. "The city's number one priority is safety," said Brookshier.

Main Street Chillicothe representatives went before the council in June stating that the organization could put $2,000 toward the cost of a structural engineer, in hopes of preserving the building as a part of Chillicothe's history.

Main Street now has four proposals from varied firms for the inspection of the building. Main Street has also requested from those submitting proposals additional information including examples of projects they have completed on this scope.

City Ready for Action
Council says Leeper building a threat to public safety
Constitution-Tribune, June 15, 2010

Chillicothe City Council members have directed City Attorney Adam Warren to pursue all legal options to enable city representatives to get inside and conduct a structural inspection of the old vacant Leeper Hotel in downtown Chillicothe. These options, the attorney said, may include taking possession of the deteriorating structure.

Warren acknowledged to council members during their regular meeting Monday night, June 14, 2010, at City Hall that the city does not want the building, but stated that the current owner is not making the necessary steps to improve it and that the structure continues to threaten public safety.
"We need to take action to get the bare minimum done," the attorney said. "My job is to prosecute people for ordinance offenses."

Barricades were placed around the building last month in response to the potential threat of bricks falling from the four-story structure which is located at the northwest corner of Webster and Washington Streets.

Talks about the condition of the 1884 building and its immediate future were continued from a prior meeting and involved input from Main Street Chillicothe representatives who had asked the city for time to actively get involved with the new owner and exhaust all possibilities before conceding to the idea of having the structure condemned because of its appearance and threat to public safety. Main Street has agreed to provide $2,000 toward paying for a structural engineer. Main Street Chillicothe, at this time, is not prepared to take ownership of the building nor obtain liability insurance stating that insurance estimates are upwards of $1,000 a month.

Ken Lauhoff and Eva Danner, both representatives of Main Street Chillicothe, also attended the meeting. Lauhoff said that three years of back taxes are due on the building and that it was time to make a decision regarding its future.

Roof Inspection at the Leeper
Constitution-Tribune, May 26, 2010
C-T Photo/Laura Schuler

CAPTION: The Chillicothe City Engineer Ron Urton takes a look at the roof of the Leeper Hotel while in a Chillicothe Fire Department aerial truck. Barricades have also been placed along the south and east sides of the Leeper Hotel, where vehicles park. Urton recommended the barricades, citing the danger of falling bricks.








Future of Historic Leeper On Hold
Constitution-Tribune, May 25, 2010
By Catherine Stortz Ripley

C-T Photo / Laura Schuler

CAPTION: With boarded up windows the historic Leeper Hotel anchored at the northwest corner of the downtown square is an eyesore. The building is privately owned and has been vacant for several years. Main Street Chillicothe wants to begin efforts in trying to find someone to redevelop the building.

A downtown eyesore.
A majestic structure.
A potential safety hazard.
Irreplaceable history.

Once again, Chillicothe city officials are addressing the future of the deteriorating historic Leeper Hotel at the northwest corner of Washington and Webster streets. Councilman-at-Large Darrel Rinehart Jr., remembers similar concerns years ago when he served on the council from 1977 until 1995. "When I was on the council 20 years ago, we were fighting issues with the Leeper," he said. Little has been resolved since then.

Main Street Chillicothe officials, whose goal is to preserve the community's heritage while promoting economic growth in downtown, want to see the structure renovated and put to use. City officials are concerned about the structure collapsing. Main Street wants the city to allow them a year to find an owner who will redevelop the structure. The city is hesitating to grant that request.

Both groups met during the council's regular meeting to address each others' concerns Monday night at City Hall. The building has been completely vacant for several years and its current owner has no plans for its future, according to Main Street Chillicothe director Crystal Narr.

Tawni Summers, now of St. Louis, purchased the building from Doug Dennis in December 2009 for $1. Dennis had owned the building since 2002, operated his business from that location for a brief period of time, and made some improvements to the building. Now, Main Street Chillicothe wants to pursue an option on the building so that it can actively seek someone to fill it. While previous owners had good intentions of wanting the renovate the building, they all failed to make significant progress, Narr said.

CAPTION: The historic Leeper Hotel at 702 Washington Street was built in 1884 and is one of the oldest buildings in Chillicothe. The building has been vacant for several years and its deteriorating condition has been a topic of city discussion for decades. Main Street Chillicothe is asking for the city to allow them time to pursue a potential buyer who would renovate the building.

Photo courtesy / Main Street Chillicothe

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