Caved-In Building Will Come Down

Thomas MacMillan Photo(Updated Friday 3:30 p.m.) The day after a roof collapsed on a vacant apartment building on Winthrop Avenue, the owner said the structure will be demolished.

Cops and firefighters rushed to the building at 217 Winthrop Thursday afternoon and determined the building was empty and no one had been hurt.

Jim Eggert (pictured inspecting the building), a city building official, said the property owner would have to either repair or demolish the structure, which was built in 1965.

The owner, the not-for-profit Mutual Housing, decided to demolish. Seila Mosquera, head of Mutual Housing, shared that news Friday afternoon.

Mosquera said Mutual Housing had planned to tear down the building, but had been waiting for warmer weather to do so. The roof collapse has accelerated those plans; Mosquera said the tear-down will happen as soon as possible.

Mutual Housing has owned the property for a few years, and had been waiting for the housing market to improve before beginning new construction on the site, Mosquera said.

After the building is demolished, the organization plans to build several owner-occupied homes, she said. “We want to build two or three townhouses.”

She said construction could begin by the end of the year. “We’re still trying to make sure we have potential buyers.”

Police and firefighters responded the partial collapse around 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The vacant, three-story apartment building sits behind a fence locked with a rusty chain.

The roof appeared to be collapsed and the wall on one side of the top floor was leaning outward as of 5:10 p.m. Thursday. Wires, boards, insulation, and other debris hung from the building.

Police Sgt. Joshua Armistead said firefighters went inside to make sure no squatters were inside. They found no one there.

“It was partially collapsed even before the snow,” Armistead. The weight of the melting snow appears to have added to its further demise.

“The roof collapsed and it kind of blew out the back wall,” Eggert said.“It’s not looking promising.”

Eggert said the building wasn’t in immediate danger of collapsing further. “It’s kind of done what it’s doing for now.”

“It’s just one of those things, with the snow,” Eggert said. He said he’s surprised the city hasn’t seen more roof collapses this snowy winter.

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posted by: getyourfactstraight on February 21, 2014  7:26pm

The building inspector said the building would have to be repaired or demolished. The owner has said we choose to demolish but wouldn’t put a time frame on it. Really? This building looks pretty dangerous.
For the building inspector to say that the building has kind of done what it is doing for now? What does that mean?
I think it hasn’t done what it is doing just for now. I could bet that this building could easily give way more and that poses a danger to probably the next store neighbor and any vagrant that decides to find refuge in the building which is very common.
I think someone needs to tell this inspector he needs to let the owners know that this building cannot sit in limbo and it should be demolished now with no delays. In fact the inspector should put this in writing. I think because of this inspector’s lack of action he is putting this city at risk for a law suit if something goes awry and this building gives way further.

posted by: NoClovers on February 23, 2014  10:05am

Wouldnt it only pose a danger to those not permitted on the property to begin with; thereby by breaking the law by trespassing? You can’t legislate stupidity; stop letting the city or other govt. entities dictate their wishes upon personal property.