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Columbia inspectors say cellphone tower antenna ‘swaying’ on top of Guitar Building

guitar bldg antenna


City inspectors say owners of the Guitar Building in Downtown Columbia must fix issues with a cellphone tower on top of it.

City inspector Harlan Hazlett wrote in a Dec. 16 inspection that the antennas on the top of the building's southwest corner at Walnut Street and Eighth Street is "swaying in the wind and must be secured immediately."

Hazeltt said the diagrams of the tower work shows that the tower must be anchored to the parapet wall, but ongoing issues with that wall may require new designs.

Columbia Public Works has kept parts of Walnut Street and Eighth Street closed while building owners fix the crumbling parts of the parapet on the roof on the northeast corner.

Tenants of the building were briefly evacuated on Thursday, but were allowed back in by Friday. The city announced in a tweet on Monday that shipping delays of construction materials would keep the current closures in place for two more days.

Part of the report also refers to the antenna as "collapsing." Building Regulations supervisor John Simon told ABC 17 News the antenna was "poorly attached" rather than "collapsing."

Simon said city inspectors noticed the issue with the cell tower while conducting work on the building's roof. The antenna in question is located on the other side of the roof where bricks fell off last week, but Simon said he did not want crews to anchor the tower to the wall because of the recent problems.

"There is no danger to the occupants or public," Simon said.

ABC 17 News previously reported the city wanted the Guitar Building's owners to fix the parapet wall and get it inspected before it would reopen the street. An engineer also had to provide "temporary and permanent stabilization recommendations for the wall."

City permits showed applicants Skynet, LLC and Nokia of America want to replace several antennas on the tower. The companies first applied for the work in February 2021. The work description includes replacing "existing mounts with new custom ballast frames and wall mounts."

The Guitar Building first opened to the public in 1912, according to the City's Historic Preservation Commission.

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Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors the 5 p.m. show for ABC 17 News and reports on the latest news around mid-Missouri at 9 and 10 p.m.


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