Residents Question New Downtown Culture

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COLUMBIA - Residents of the Niedermeyer Apartments questioned the future culture of the downtown district after learning Wednesday their building will be demolished.

"I don't know what I'm going to do," explained resident Alex Morris. Morris moved into his Niedermeyer apartment in December. Shortly after moving in, he was told the building was sold and his residence was in jeopardy.

The Columbia City Council voted Tuesday night against delaying the demolition of Niedermeyer Apartments after more than a dozen Columbia residents spoke against the demolition before the vote. The council split the vote 3-3, which did not pass the moratorium.

The failure to pass the moratorium came as downtown Columbia has seen a boom in residential properties that cater to students. Brookside Townhomes will have built four properties in downtown Columbia by August 2013--all in a span of four years. According to Brookside, it will house more than 1000 residents downtown by August. The boom in housing causes more traditional residents to worry about congestion, traffic and parking issues.

In addition to downtown, Columbia has additional student housing set to open in August 2013. Those include The Domain on Stadium Boulevard and Aspen Heights on Nifong.

Real estate developer Collegiate Housing Partners of St. Louis expressed interest in buying the Niedermeyer property at Tenth and Cherry to build downtown student housing. The zoning designation does not limit height and the development could stand as tall as 15 stories.

Residents who spoke to KOMU 8 News did not have any updates from their landlord. They worry that downtown will become a place for the wealthy to live and no one else.

"If it's anything like [Brookside Apartments], it's going to be15 stories of $700 a bedroom. So it's just going to be privileged people downtown," said Morris.

Niedermeyer Apartments is the oldest standing building in Columbia, built in 1837.

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