Newbo Demolition: Man prepares to Say Goodbye to Family Building

By Jill Kasparie, KCRG-TV9

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Demolition is set to start any time on an old building in the Newbo neighborhood.

City officials said they notified the owners last July that they needed to do something with the property because it was unsafe, whether that was fix it up or tear it down. The owners now say it’s time for it to come down.

The Hach building in the Newbo neighborhood is more than a century old. It sits at the corner of Second Street and 14th Avenue SE. People who worked to protect the historic structure aren’t happy it’s coming down.

The group called Save Cedar Rapids Heritage said it even helped organize a recent offer on the building, but nothing came together.

News of this demolition is particularly hard for one man.

“This is where my family roots go back, from day one,” Robert Hach said.

Hach’s family name is still on the top of the building. He said his Great Grandfather Peter Hach built it in 1901 and bottled Anheuser Busch. His family doesn’t own the building now, and says it’ll be hard to see it go.

The Melsha family owns it and said their original plan was to restore it, but that has changed.

“That was before he got all of his illnesses and fell and did all that. Our life has changed a lot in the last two or three years,” said Building Owner Diane Melsha.

They bought it after the flood. The couple said they recently decided to have it demolished.

Save Cedar Rapids Heritage said it has worked to save the building for two years.

“I never consider a building gone until the wrecking ball has taken it to the ground, but we’ve been so frustrated, stymied, disappointed, by this one. I think I kind of have to say this is the end for this building,” said President of Save Cedar Rapids Heritage Beth DeBoom.

As for Robert, he’ll hold on to his memories, but is preparing to say goodbye to this piece of family history.

“So, really this building behind me is what my family when they came here from bohemia and they saved their money. This was their American dream. This was their dream that they lived for and that they worked very hard for and then from that, kind of, put the rest of our family on the path of where we are today,” Hach said.

Hach said the demolition crew has told the family it’ll start tearing it down next week.

For the next two nights, people who don’t want to see the building go say they’re planning to gather there and take pictures.

l Comments: 319-398-8268; jill.kasparie@kcrg.com

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