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Commission postpones Rainey Street demolition

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

The Historic Landmark Commission found itself stuck between a rock and a hard place at its meeting on May 18. Although commissioners and staff did not find that the Bungalow and Container Bar at 90-92 Rainey St. met the threshold required for historic designation, they were unwilling to approve a demolition permit to level the buildings and replace them with a 53-floor high-rise. “I would prefer to delay it rather than approve it. I have a real problem approving the removal of a contributing building in one of our oldest and earliest National Register districts,” Commissioner Terri Myers said. Although it took two tries to approve a postponement of the case until the commission’s June meeting, the commission eventually voted 6-1 to postpone. Commissioner Witt Featherston voted in opposition. “I just don’t support delay for the sake of delay,” he said. “It all just seems sort of superficial at this point.” The commission is able to delay the case for 180 days before making a decision. That clock runs out on July 27. While the commission did not pursue opening a case for historic designation of the building, Commissioner Ben Heimsath called the vote to postpone a “symbolic gesture.” Myers said that in this case, symbolism was the most effective tool in the commission’s toolbox. “I don’t think it’s meaningless. I think it means something that we don’t roll over and play dead,” she said.

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