The former Murphy Motors building won’t be facing the wrecking ball, at least in the immediate future.
When the Hannibal City Council approved purchasing the former Murphy Motors site at its Oct. 16 meeting, the proposed plan was for the structure at 422 N. Main St. to be razed. And while the purchase was completed on Nov. 7, the decision to bring the structure down has been put on hold in part because of interest that’s been shown in the building.
“We’ve heard interest from several people who want to lease, purchase, or occupy the building. We’ve had a few that have no interest to lease or purchase it, but have asked the city not to demolish it,” said City Manager Jeff LaGarce. “With several parties expressing interest in the building, we’ve deferred any demolition plans for the moment until that is decided.”
Earlier this month, LaGarce offered some preliminary ideas on how the property could be used.
“Our interest was in developing a site plan to mix green space with attractive parking, internal landscaping, quality signage, perhaps a ‘Welcome Sign’ and unique kiosk for downtown visitors and tour bus parking,” said the city manager, explaining a “hybrid plan” will be developed so the site can serve as a “downtown fairgrounds” for events and provide parking for visitors and tour buses.
“We also felt this site may accommodate many traditional Main Street special events, allowing the opportunity to remove some events from the street to this fairgrounds site,” added the city manager.
LaGarce says no decision has been made as of yet regarding whether plans for the site would be drafted in-house or by an outside firm, if the decision is made by the “elected body” to tear down the existing building.
If at some point the decision is made to tear down the building, it doesn’t appear the city will need to seek out a private contractor to perform the task.
“The Street Department feels they have the ability to demolish the site,” said LaGarce. “They purchased a trackhoe several months ago, and its already been useful on many projects. The Street Superintendent feels confident he can raze the structure.”
The Murphy Motors building has stood empty since shortly after the dealership was purchased by the Poage corporation in April 2008. Murphy Motors relocated to 422 N. Main St. in 1963 from its previous home at Eighth and Church streets.