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Liberty City Council votes to demolish 3rd building in under a year, adjacent business owner wants it to stop

Jennifer McGuire
Posted at 10:45 PM, Mar 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-12 00:54:24-04

LIBERTY, Mo — Historic downtown Liberty immediately draws people to its 1800s-style architecture.

It's why Jennifer McGuire, owner of The Parlor, thought she had the perfect location for her boutique three years ago.

"(I) Saw this place and fell in love," she said. "It's beautiful. The history, every brick has it's own story."

In the past several months, the focal point of the city quickly turned into what they call "the hole." McGuire said she lost nearly $70,000 in sales because of it.

"When the fence went up, the traffic died," McGuire said. "No new customers, no new anything."

Liberty City Council voted on Monday night for demolition of a third building at 11 N. Water Street. It is next door to McGuire's store.

The reason is because it doesn't match the style or historical presence of the surrounding shops.

"The G.M. Peters building has been the ugliest building in downtown liberty for 64 years," Liberty Mayor Greg Canuteson said.

This all started because a building collapsed in 2016.

The two historic buildings that were once next to it at 7 and 9 N. Water Street started deteriorating.

The city purchased those buildings for $1 at the time because they didn't think anyone would invest in them.

Those two properties were demolished within the past couple of months because they were not structurally sound and posed a safety risk to the community.

Then, the city cut a deal so Star Development could acquire those properties, in addition to the G.M. Peters building Star Development already owns.

Canuteson said with all of the changes they're making, he isn't losing sight of businesses like McGuire's that might need their support.

"We're going to do everything we can legally do to help business owners in downtown Liberty," he said. "We want them to thrive here."

In the meantime, The Parlor is still recovering from being tens of thousands of dollars in the hole. They don't think they can survive being in another one.

"This is not only what do we do with the business? It's what do we do with ourselves?" McGuire said.

Canuteson said the city has a re-development plan in the works. It could include more retail, restaurants and housing.

They will release a vision report for that in the next few months.