Arts and Culture
8:19 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Renovations started on one of Columbia's oldest buildings

Renovations have finally begun on the Niedermeyer building, one of the oldest buildings in Columbia that was being considered for demolition at the end of last year. 

Starting as a school for girls in the 1830’s the building now continues to hold renters- even as these renovations begin.

Nakhle Asmar purchased the Niedermeyer building in April and was attracted to its historical values, buying it two months after it was deemed one of the “most historic properties” in Columbia by the historic preservation commission. However, much of the building is in need of repair. Asmar has already begun renovating the porch and electrical wires. He believes this will only take a couple weeks but repairing the inside of the building could take much longer. But no matter what- he wants to keep everything looking authentic.

“The goal is to keep it all looking the same,” Asmar said. “But of course one can benefit from newer appliances, from newer kitchens, bathroom fixtures and so on.”

Historic preservation commission member Brent Gardner has been working closely on this project.  He says Asmar has come to the comimssion to get advice on what is historically significant.

He wanted to know, for instance, what historic preservation would considered to be historically relevant. And we basically look at the exterior a lot more than the interior of a building,” Gardner said.

The interior consists of 32 units and Asmar plans to renovate each individual unit one at a time in order to allow tenants the option to continue living in the Niedermeyer house during renovations.

Tuesday the historic preservation commission will discuss how different renovations to the outside of the house will affect the house’s authenticity. Two of these topics include the height of the porch railing and a possible statue.