by Geoff Kelly - posted 9:32 am, June 20, 2008
The court order that halted complete demolition of the former White Bros. livery on Jersey Street has not prevented the city’s demolition contractor from picking away at the building, piece by piece. As these picture show, most of the roof on the Jersey Street side of the hulking brick structure is gone. The peak of the front facade has been taken, too.
According to Commissioner Rich Tobe of the Department of Economic Development, Permit and License Services, the court initially agreed—and continues to maintain, as of yesterday’s hearing—that the city’s contractor, Empire Dismantlement, could continue to do demo work deemed essential to prevent imminent dangers: falling bricks, leaning walls, falling roof.
The group of neighbors trying to save at least some part of the livery building will meet the city and the building’s owner, Robert Freudenheim, in court again this morning at 9:30am. (You can watch interviews with the neighbors and Freudenheim here.)
The initial collapse of the wall on the building’s east side was caused when a massive truss, from which parts of the floors are hung, failed and swung out, knocking out a hole and dropping parts of two floors, according to initial reports by a city inspector. (On entering the building, the inspector saw a yellow VW bug embedded in floor, ass end up; the car had been on the third floor before the collapse.) Five houses were evacuated, the residents forced to stay with friends or relatives or in hotels (at their own expense). The emergency demolition, bid out last Thursday morning at close to $300,000, is expected to take two to three weeks.
The demo contractor was supposed to come to Tobe on Wednesday with four demolition options, reflecting various possible outcomes, ranging from complete demolition—in which the entire building would be pushed into a hole and bulldozed until flat—to preservation of, perhaps, the front facade, parts of the walls, or the tower in the northeast corner of the building (pictured below, appearing more or less intact).
More news soon.