3 demolition bids given for Main Street building

Truth file photo The building at 131 S. Main St., left, in downtown Elkhart is expected to be gone by the year’s end, as the city’s Board of Public Safety has received three bids to demolish the water-damaged building. 

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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(7) comments

Tim Stewart

Holtz ? Who is that ?

RasmusSJorgensen Staff

Hi Tim. Thanks for pointing out this error. It is building commissioner Jim Holtz.


When the city demolishes a building they hold a lien on the property and take possession if not paid. It's similar to a tax lien. The city should convert it to additional parking


Who owns this building? Are they paying property tax on this building? I would like to see the city recoup the expense of repair or demolition thru property tax or sale of the property.


Here is your dilemma: The owner wont do anything. Nobody is going to pay the purchase price plus repair plus ongoing maintenance just to own an empty building, where Main Street is full of open spaces, cheaper to buy and also to rent/lease. Now it can be talked about it endless, the question is: Do you want it demolished, or remain there being blocked off? I say demolish it. I rather see mother nature then another abandoned building sitting around. And regarding the cost: Well, you should have thought about it when you allowed all those buildings to be built, and the consequences.


I would be inclined to have the building repaired for $800,000.00 then sell the building. If it is demolished, there will just be another empty lot that no one would be willing to build on, just like the lot next to Hardy’s bar.

Joe King

I agree.... At least the city could recoup money either by selling or leasing.. Perhaps recover money for the property he owned that burned down across from the post office....didn't the city have to do some of the work there too? $800k seems like an inflated price anyway...just to make it seem not worth...like the armory....they made it sound much worse than what is was just to tear it down for progress and leave an empty lot....Wish they would have taken a drive to Goshen and see what a downtown should look like....

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