Hallowell’s Planning Board will meet Wednesday night and the only business on the official agenda is determining the future of a building in the city’s historic district that its owner wants to demolish.

But according to Row House, a nonprofit organization that works to preserve Hallowell’s historic sites, the mixed-use structure at 226 Water St. doesn’t qualify for demolition under the city’s ordinance.

The building owner, Steve Hammond, wants to raze the house, which was the former home of Hallowell Mayor Mark Walker’s law office, and build a modern structure on the site. Walter McKee, Hammond’s attorney, presented the plan for demolition to the Planning Board in January, but the debate was tabled until information could be gathered from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.

Hallowell Planning Board Chairwoman Danielle Obery said in an email that she hopes the board receives the information about the historical significance of the building, and she expects the Planning Board will vote on Hammond’s plan at Wednesday’s meeting.

During the January session, Row House Inc. members Carolyn Manson and Raymond Hicks argued that the building doesn’t need to be torn down. They believe the structure was built in the mid-1850s and is representative of a different time in Hallowell’s history.

Manson would only say that Row House plans on attending the meeting, but she would not specify what the organization plans to do, if anything, to oppose a Planning Board decision to demolish the building.

“Row House remains opposed to the demolition of 226 Water St.,” Manson said via email, “because the building is a contributing structure to the historic district and does not meet the criteria contained in the ordinance.”

McKee, contractor Andrew Beaulieu, and Hammond, who referred all requests for comment to McKee, disagree with Row House’s position.

They said the building is not structurally sound and only provides limited historic or architectural value. McKee told the Kennebec Journal earlier this month that though Hammond has not publicly disclosed his plans for the building, “whatever will go in its place will be far better and will have a historic look consistent with Hallowell.”

Walker said the building had no charm and has no opportunity for growth. The building has obviously deteriorated inside, and the front doors open with very little clearance between the door and the street. McKee said he hopes the Planning Board allows Hammond to build something better than the “property that is clearly on its way out.”

The Hallowell Planning Board will meet Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Hallowell City Hall.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

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