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      Columbia's oldest building may be saved

      The Niedermeyer House, which was built in 1837 by Gen. Richard and Ann Hawkins Gentry, served as the Columbia Female Academy and the Gordon Hotel before becoming an apartment building in 1921.

      Columbia officials announced a tentative agreement Tuesday to save the city's oldest building, the Niedermeyer House.

      Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid announced that a private buyer plans to purchase the building, located at 920 Cherry St., from its current owner, Collegiate Housing Partners.

      The house, which was built in 1837 by Gen. Richard and Ann Hawkins Gentry, served as the Columbia Female Academy and the Gordon Hotel before becoming an apartment building in 1921.

      "Today I am proud to say we are honoring the history of Columbia by announcing a tentative agreement has been reached to preserve the historic Niedermeyer Apartments," Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid said. "The Historic Preservation Commission deserves to be commended for originating this historic agreement to preserve Columbia??s oldest, historic building."

      "I am proud that all parties have reached an agreement in principle," Brent Gardner, a realtor and member of the Historic Preservation Commission, said. "This is a complex agreement that relies on conventional financing and equity in the short-term."

      He added that a combination of existing resources and tools available to property owners, including historic preservation tax credits, affordable housing tax credits, energy efficiency grants and loans and other programs offered by the city, may be used for preservation in the long-term.

      More details will be released after a memorandum of understanding is approved.