Past and Future Collide and Old Bricks Will Fall

History and development crossed swords Tuesday afternoon and, in the eyes of some, history lost the two-hour debate at city hall. Those who want to save the Clarinda and Page buildings call the city’s decision to strip it of landmark status, cultural vandalism.

Brian Hansen, with Restoration Exchange Omaha, said, "I hear time and again from young professionals that this city will do what it always does and tear this building down. I hope I'm wrong."

They were luxury apartments at one time – built in 1909 and 1914. People still live there and admit the investment hasn’t been worthwhile. They say it’s time for change.

Clarinda resident Jack Henry said, “I'm not anti-preservation. I don't want someone to Google me in five years and think I'm against history. That's not the case. I'm an owner. I have a buyer and I want to sell."

The buildings earned landmark status in 1981. Developers say there isn’t anything necessarily historic about them and that restoration would cost millions.

The plan is to knock down the old and put up a new office complex. Mutual of Omaha is leading the way on that front.

Opponents of the plan call this a move down a slippery slope. They say that Omaha continues to destroy its old buildings.

Clarinda Carpov said, “Landmark buildings belong to all of us and our grandkids.”

The vote was unanimous to tear it down. Mutual will find a developer.


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