The Faribault Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) met this week at City Hall and denied a request for a demolition permit for the Johnston Hall Building.

Allina Hospital District One Faribault made the request saying the building is not safe and could come down on it's own.

Allina has closed down the walkway between the hospital and Allina Clinic for fear the building could topple onto the walkway.

Allina can appeal the decision.  It would then go before the Faribault City Council.

Faribault City Council members Peter Van Sluis and Royal Ross were guests on Thursday's KDHL AM Minnesota Program.

Both told KDHL if Allina appeals the HPC decision they will vote to grant the demolition permit.

Van Sluis said, "Reluctantly."

Ross stated he was in favor of stricter ordinances so buildings, particularly "historical" buildings can be inspected.  Then maybe something can be done before they get into an unsafe condition.

Allina stated when they purchased the District One Hospital campus they had no use for the Johnston Hall Building.  They have tried to sell it.

A few years ago they thought they had a deal with a developer to sell the building to them for a dollar.  Estimated cost to get the building in shape at that time was approximately 2 million dollars.  The deal obviously did not get done.

Van Sluis told us now the figure is believed to be closer to 4 million dollars.

Allina told the HPC they are in the business of health care not refurbishing old buildings.

Ross told us Allina "Almost has to appeal the HPC denial because the building could fall on top of their investment."

Johnston Hall Building Faribault view from North. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld

Van Sluis believes whether the Council votes for or against the permit the matter will "Probably end up in court."

Listen to a podcast of the show that also addresses the current housing situation in Faribault.  Even with all the new apartment buildings going up there is still a shortage in the community because of expansions and new industries coming to the community.

Faribaulty City Council Members Royal Ross (Blue) and Peter Van Sluis (Gray). Photo by Gordy Kosfeld

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