KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A historic home in an upscale Kansas City, Mo., neighborhood was on the market for just $1. But it never sold.
Now it's facing a controversial demolition.
The Kansas City Art Institute tried to sell the historic, vacant home at 4347 Oak for about a year and a half for $1. But the sale had a catch - the buyer would have to move the home to make way for KCAI student housing.
Anne Canfield, vice president of communications at KCAI, said that May 1 was the deadline for the offer.
No one stepped up because renovations and removal were just too costly.
So KCAI said demolition is the only way to make way for its growing student enrollment in a landlocked campus off of Oak Street.
"We're limited in how and where we can grow," Canfield said.
Neighbors in the Southmoreland neighborhood have been fighting to keep the 100-year-old slate and limestone home from being bulldozed.
They said they worry that as the Kansas City Art Institute grows, their historic homes will disappear.
"It's disappointing the properties they have to access happen to be the neighborhood and homes," said
Larry Garrett, vice president of the Southmoreland Neighborhood Association. "Part of that valuable urban environment you talk about in downtown KC already exists in Southmoreland."
Neighbors explained that tearing down the home means demolishing part of one of the few $250,000 to $1,000,000 neighborhoods that exist in the middle of the city.
The school said it has preserved many neighboring historic homes for the Institute's use. It renovated the old Cunningham Estate and turned it into the library, the Mayer Mansion is its administration offices and the school turned one of the most photographed homes in the city off of Oak Street into Mineral Hall for classes.
They pointed out that the vacant, rundown Donaldson home at 4347 Oak would have cost almost $2 million to renovate for institutional use.
But Garrett still sees tearing it down as a loss, and worries there will be more demolition in the area in the future.
"I do feel sad because I see more of this neighborhood chewed away," he said.
The Kansas City Art Institute will demolish the Donaldson home in next few months.
The Landmarks Commission has given it a deadline of May 2013.
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