Recent floor collapse marks end for Crookston landmarkThe historic Wayne/Palace Hotel in Crookston likely will be demolished by the end of the year.
The historic Wayne/Palace Hotel in Crookston likely will be demolished by the end of the year.
“I would hope so,” Polk County Commission Chairman Warren Strandell said Thursday.
The demolition is being placed on a fast track after Crookston city officials discovered earlier this week that main and second floors in the downtown building had collapsed into the basement.
The 118-year-old four-story building is owned by Polk County, which claimed it in 2003 after the property owners failed to pay the real estate taxes.
“We feel this building constitutes a hazard at this point and we feel we have no choice but to declare it a hazardous building,” Crookston City Administrator Aaron Parrish told the commission.
While the city has no financial stake in the building, Parrish said it would do all it can to help the county move the demolition project forward.
After the discovery of the floor collapse, the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board approved a city request to waive a requirement for an environmental assessment worksheet that normally is required before demolition of such a structure.
That could save the county tens of thousands of dollars in pre-demolition procedures, said Dan Johanneck, executive director of Crookston Housing and Economic Development Authority.
It also means the county will not have to go through the full bidding process for the demolition.
County Coordinator Jack Schmalenberg plans to present the commission at its next meeting with recommendations for hiring an engineer to study the demolition process.
In early 2009, the cost of demolition was estimated at about $300,000, and the county commission decided to set aside that amount of money.
But the potential demolition had been on hold last year because of efforts to restore and rehabilitate the historic building.
Meanwhile, Preservation Alliance of Minnesota placed the building on its list of the state’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Places.
But earlier this year, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency rejected a funding package from Metro Plains Development. The developer had proposed restoring the building and converting it to affordable rental housing. That MHFA financing was supposed to supplement a $1 million USDA Rural Development Loan for the project.
Still, a local historic preservation organization, Prairie Skyline Foundation, is asking the county to preserve the building, despite the most recent damage, and try to restore it at a later date.
Strandell said that’s just not feasible.
“If there had been a new roof put on the building several years ago, it might have been possible,” he said. “But it’s just too late.”