Historic downtown Winona building facing demolition

More than two years after a fire tore through a historic building in downtown Winona, the city is taking steps to have it demolished.

The building that housed The Mason Jar on East Third Street was severely damaged by an overnight fire in February 2015.

While the building’s interior was destroyed, the walls were still intact. The building’s owner had been working with the city’s historic preservation office to get tax credits to help with the costs of renovation, but failed to get a building permit before the city-mandated deadline of June 19th.

As a result, the City of Winona recently took steps to have the building declared hazardous and will have it demolished if renovations don’t start soon.

“Of course it’s a beautiful building, of course we would love if it could be restored, so that’s the ideal goal for everybody, but due to the length of time we’ve seen this take, we had to come up with a Plan B,” said Lucy McMartin, who serves as the city’s director of community development.

A court date will be scheduled by the end of summer to determine whether the city has the authority to declare the building hazardous. However, McMartin says going to court could be avoided if the building owner takes steps soon to go ahead with the renovations.