City votes to remove building's historic designation

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - A downtown building at the center of the Confluence Project is no longer a local historic landmark.

The owner of 6 S. Barstow Street wanted to remove the local historic designation so the building can be torn down.

Tuesday night the Eau Claire City Council voted six to five in favor of that appeal.

The attorney for the owners of the building, Joseph Mirr , says the owners have accepted an offer to sell the building for the Confluence Project and ultimately plan to demolish the building.

“I kind of think of it as an old tattered beloved stuffed animal and the stuffing is literally coming out. It’s time to make a decision to move on and tonight the council made a decision to move on,” City Council member Catherine Emmanuelle said.

Emmanuelle says 6 S. Barstow has seen better days and that's why she voted in favor of the owner's request to remove the building's historic designation.

“I hope that our city can learn from this that we can’t neglect our buildings,” Emmanuelle added.

“I think it will be a big loss for the city if these buildings are torn down,” City Council member David Strobel said following Tuesday night’s vote.

Strobel says he serves on the Landmarks Committee who initially named the building a local historical landmark. He said with the vote Tuesday night, the city potentially loses another one of its building to the Confluence Project development.

“Seven out of the 14 buildings in the National Historic District or the Confluence Historic District are going to be destroyed because of this project,” Strobel explained.

After Tuesday night’s meeting Strobel told us the vote by the council doesn't necessarily mean the owners can demolish the building right away. He says the State Historical Society might also weigh in on the process since the building was designated a state historical landmark.

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