- Associated Press - Saturday, July 18, 2015

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A historic midtown Omaha mansion built more than a century ago and damaged by fire earlier this year will be demolished.

The owner of the Arthur Metz mansion - built in the early 1900s for a member of the Metz brewery family - plans to redevelop the site for residential use, either as apartments or a house, The Omaha World-Herald reported (https://bit.ly/1Kdk9f9 ) Saturday.

The three-story mansion lies just outside the boundaries of the Gold Coast Historic District. It sustained heavy damage Jan. 12 in a two-alarm fire. No one was injured in the blaze, and investigators say it was caused by a space heater in the attic used to prevent pipes from freezing.

The mansion is not a designated local landmark, and Assistant City Planning Director Jay Davis told neighborhood leaders in an email Friday that there were no grounds - from a historic or landmarks designation standpoint - to stop demolition.

Omaha City Councilman Chris Jerram had asked for that confirmation, because he believed the mansion was protected. He said he was told months ago by city planners that the then-owner wanted to try to restore the mansion.

But since then, the property was sold to Mansion Flats LLC. The group’s agent, Robert Chalupa, said the group would prefer not to tear down the mansion, given its history.

“But it’s condemned, and is in dire, dire condition,” Chalupa said.

He said the structure will likely be razed in the next few weeks.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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