When they met Tuesday, Leavenworth city commissioners approved the purchase of a downtown building for $52,500.

When they met Tuesday, Leavenworth city commissioners approved the purchase of a downtown building for $52,500.

City Manager Paul Kramer said city officials plan to tear down the building located at 301 Delaware St. and look for economic development opportunities for the site.

The city is purchasing the building from Triple R Properties, a limited liability company based in Leavenworth.

“We would close Friday,” Kramer said.

The roof of the building recently collapsed. But Kramer said the building has been vacant and deteriorating for more than five years.

Kramer said the City Commission has taken similar actions in the past. He pointed to the purchase of properties in the area of Fourth Street and Metropolitan Avenue. Those properties later were sold to a hotel developer. He also noted that the city had purchased a vacant hotel building in the downtown area. A developer later built a new hotel on that site.

Kramer said the purchase of the property at 301 Delaware St. meets some of the stated goals of the commission. The goals include pursuing future downtown improvement projects and working to reduce the number of abandoned or unoccupied buildings.

“It is an ugly corner right now,” Leavenworth Mayor Mark Preisinger said of the site of 301 Delaware St.

Commissioner Mike Griswold said he was supportive of the proposal. But Griswold said he received a call from a businessman in the city.

Griswold said the businessman was opposed to the city being involved in a commercial real estate action. The businessman also thought the price of the property was excessive.

Griswold said the businessman also had expressed concern about the message that would be conveyed to owners of other unoccupied buildings.

Griswold said he brought up his conversation with the businessman in order to offer a contrarian view.

Griswold did not attend Tuesday’s meeting but he participated by telephone.

Preisinger said he also had received calls from a couple of people in Leavenworth regarding the issue.

Preisinger said he understands the argument that the city should not be involved in commercial real estate. But he argued the city has been involved in commercial real estate in the past.

“That is normal practice in cities of all sizes,” he said.

He argued taking the property owner to court in order to have the property demolished would take longer, and then the property could be fallow for two to five years.

He argued the costs under this scenario would be greater than the purchase price that will be paid by the city.

“I think this is a good use of the city’s money,” Preisinger said.

Preisinger said he believes the site will be redeveloped.

Kramer said the city could have the owner bring the property up to code standards. But he said the property still could remain vacant for another five years.

He said the property is located at a “crucial intersection.”

Commissioners unanimously approved the purchase of the property and authorized the mayor to execute documents related to the purchase.

The vote came during a special meeting that followed a study session.

Kramer believes it will take less than 30 days to have the building demolished. He said the cost of the demolition should be less than $25,000.

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