ELKHART — After more than a year of discussions, the City of Elkhart has received bids to demolish 131 S. Main St., a three story downtown building suffering from severe water damage.
The water-damaged building on Lexington Avenue and Main Street could potentially be repaired for about $800,000, but the three demolition bids opened by the Elkhart Board of Public Safety on Tuesday came in well below that.
Elkhart-based C&E Excavating gave the highest priced bid, at $277,175, followed by Dowagiac-based Cross Excavating & Demolition, at $239,075.
But Jackson Demolition Services, based in Rochester, offered to do the demolition at less than half the price of the others, at $115,000.
City staff will review the three bids and report back at the next public safety board meeting, on Sept. 10, at which point the board could award a bid.
Who will end up paying for the demolition is still unclear.
Property owner, Jim Wagner, has not appeared interested making the repairs to avoid the demolition, even after the building was deemed a public safety hazard by the city in June 2018. His real estate business, Wagner Real Estate, was administratively dissolved in December 2007.
The City of Elkhart continues work to recover financial assets from Wagner to cover the expenses related to 131 S. Main St., according to mayor’s office Chief of Staff Bradley Tracy.
Board member Kevin Segner asked city building commissioner Jim Holtz at the Tuesday meeting how much time will pass from when a bid is awarded to when demolition can begin.
“Hopefully not long, but we haven’t set a timeframe up,” Holtz said.
He did say it is the plan to have the demolition completed by the end of the year.
According to Tracy, the demolition will lead to the closure of both Main Street and Lexington Avenue by the building for several weeks.
He said it may be necessary to demolish part of the building by hand in order to spare the neighboring 129 S. Main St.
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