Wiggery building is found to be structurally sound

Sunday, December 2, 2012
The Cape Wiggery building on Main Street. (Laura Simon)

The eyesore of a structure covering the sidewalk at the corner of Main and Themis streets in downtown Cape Girardeau for more than a year soon will be coming down.

A structural engineer has examined the once-condemned former Wiggery building and determined it is structurally sound, said Nicolette Brennan, public information manager for the city of Cape Girardeau. However, repairs must be made before the building can be occupied.

The structure that has been covering the walkway around the building to protect pedestrians soon will be removed, but the sidewalk will remain closed as upgrades to the building continue.

"Once repairs are made to the roof, windows and brick, it will be safe to open the sidewalk," Brennan said.

The building recently changed hands and is owned by Reba Abbott of Scott City, according to Cape Girardeau County records.

She did not return calls asking for comments about her plans for the historic property.

The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Cape Girardeau Commercial Historic District. The Sturdivant Bank, the oldest bank in Southeast Missouri, was established in the building in the 1890s.

A building permit has not yet been issued for the property, but Brennan said the owner is working with the city's inspections division to develop a plan to bring the building into compliance.

In August 2011, the city began condemnation proceedings on the building at that time owned by Merriwether Investments, operated by John Wyman.

For months, Wyman and the city failed to come to an agreement on what to do with the historic building and discussed its fate at a series of condemnation hearings.

To qualify for condemnation, buildings must have at least one of 12 defects qualifying them as dangerous with conditions detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the city, according to ordinances. These include structural problems, foundation problems, damage from fires or other disasters, faulty construction, inadequate sanitation facilities, insufficient egress in case of fire and a lack of doors or windows.

Wyman presented the city with an engineer's report this year stating a leaky storm sewer allowed water to penetrate the building's foundation, causing it to shift during the past couple of years and repairs could not be made until this was addressed.

City engineers found no evidence supporting this claim during their inspections.

The new owner hired a professional structural engineer from St. Louis to review the stormwater system, Brennan said.

"The engineer determined that our stormwater infrastructure was fine and that the building was structurally sound," she said. "The building had settled normally."

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

101 N. Main St., Cape Girardeau,

Map of pertinent addresses

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