Historic Iowa Building to be Demolished, Rebuilt After Fire

November 26, 2018

A 122-year-old building in southeast Iowa that was damaged by a fire last summer will be torn down, its owner said, citing the high cost of preserving the charred structure.

The Burlington City Council learned of the plan to demolish the Tama Complex on Monday, The Hawk Eye reported.

The historic complex was established in 1896 and has seen multiple fires in its long history. Officials said the fire this year was the most devastating. The building, which housed apartments and stores, was nearly destroyed in the Aug. 4 fire, which drew more than 50 firefighters from six different departments.

Tama developer Doug Wells will work with G & B Construction on the demolition, according to Eric Tysland, the development and parks director for Burlington.

“It is the priority project for that contractor,” he said.

Wells told the council this month that he would prefer to rebuild the $12.5 million complex, but that the decision would come down to the cost of demolition versus rehabilitation.

Wells has said that he plans to rebuild on the site after the demolition is complete. Wells is discussing preliminary design plans for the new building with downtown business owners, Tysland said.

The complex could be torn down in three to five days after the contracts are finalized, Wells said. The goal is to reopen the corner by Dec. 19.

Wells is expected to provide an update on the project at the council’s Dec. 10 work session.

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