Allina Wasting No Time With Demolition
The Faribault City Council Tuesday night voted 5-2 to provide Allina Hospital District One with a demolition permit for Johnston Hall.
Thursday fencing was put into place. The parking lot on the north side of the building emptied. A large crane brought in for that demolition.
During a special meeting of the Faribault Heritage Preservation Commission September 8, 2021 a Condition Assessment Report was provided by the firm of Meyer, Borgman and Johnson of Minneapolis. They are a structural design engineering firm.
The company did assessments in 2017 and this year with the report of this year's inspection presented to the HPC by Allina District One as evidence for the need to fulfill their request to demolish the building.
Johnson Hall was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
The building has been cat-like, surviving multiple attempts in the last three decades to demolish it.
In 1986 an attempt was made resulting in it's rehabilitation in 1987. An elevator was installed with mechanical and electrical systems updated. It housed medical offices when I arrived in 1987.
The Richie Eye Clinic was located there before their new facility was constructed just off Highway 21 and Highway 3 in Faribault.
I also received services from Dr. Laney with the Orthopedic and Fracture Clinic which has since moved.
In 2013 the last tenant left the building.
District One Hospital repurchased the building in 2008. It was determined in 2010 repairs to the building would cost 1.1 million dollars.
Allina purchased District One Hospital in 2014 stating at the time they were not interested in the iconic building.
In May of 2018 Allina sought a Environmental Assessment Worksheet for demolition.
That summer talks continued between the city and Allina.
In December of 2018 the City of Faribault and Allina entered into a two year agreement giving the city authority to find a developer.
In April of 2020 a special meeting was held with the HPC and Faribault Economic Development Authority where a plan was revealed to have a 35 bed residential chemical treatment facility housed there.
The developer would purchase the building from Allina for one dollar and be provided with a 60 year zero cost land lease for the property the building sits on. The estimated project cost was $4,000,000 million dollars.
Johnston Hall was once part of the Seabury Divinity School started by Bishop Henry Whipple. It was built in 1888 for $50,000.
Constructed from Faribault Blue Limestone. The school was in operation until 1933.
Here is the Condition Assessment Report provided to the HPC at their meeting where they denied Allina's request for a demolition permit.
Allina appealed the denial to the Faribault City Council.
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