City scraps plan for demolition of old building

Published 6:00 am Friday, January 23, 2009

City officials have temporarily shelved plans to demolish theold Stahl-Urban building, saying it’s probably a better idea towait until the economy picks up before proceeding with theproject.

The building sits empty on Main Street between the Sola Fidebuilding and another building owned by the Stahl-Urban Company.Saying it was unsightly at best and potentially a fire hazard atworst, aldermen voted at the December 16 board meeting to seek bidsfor the building’s demolition.

However, Mayor Bob Massengill said Thursday the overall costs ofthe demolition proved to be somewhat prohibitive to the city oncethings like an environmental study and possible following measuresare figured in.

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“In meeting with an engineering firm, we found that there areseveral things that could weigh in,” he said. “The environmentalstudy could cost $4,500 to $5,000 … The cost could get to be upto $15,000 to $20,000 depending on if there’s something wrong andwhat it is.”

Massengill said the city had a company inquire into demolishingthe building for the salvage. As it turned out, he said, it wouldbe unlawful for the city to hand the project over and bids wouldactually have to be sought.

The mayor said consultants advised city officials this is notthe best time to try to bid out the demolition of the Stahl-Urbanbased on the economic situation. He said when a demolition is donefor salvage, the parts are usually sold by the company that doesthe job.

“Prices are not such that it could be done right now,” he said.”It would turn out that we’d have to pay to tear it down. Afterweighing the costs of the demolition and hauling the debris, it wasdecided not to demolish it now.”

In addition, the city is still awaiting the Department ofEnvironmental Quality recertification of the landfill that wouldhold the debris. Demolition debris like that from the Stahl-UrbanBuilding would need to go in Rubbish Fill No. 1, but it cannotuntil the landfill is recertified.

City officials have said recently that they expect to hear backfrom the DEQ any day.

Instead, Massengill said, the building will be secured andwalkways between it and neighboring structures will be taken downuntil the economy is more conducive to leveling the oldfactory.

“If the economy was great, we’d pursue this project gladly,”Massengill said. “But right now, it doesn’t pay to tear it down. Itjust doesn’t justify the thousands of dollars we’d have to spend todo it when we have more pressing needs.”