ELKHART — The demolition of 131 S. Main St. will cost the City of Elkhart $115,000.
That was decided Tuesday by the Board of Public Safety, which chose the cheapest of three bids to demolish the water-damaged building on the corner of South Main Street and Lexington Avenue.
According to building commissioner Jim Holtz, there was no reason not to choose the cheapest option, which came from Jackson Demolition Services and was more than $100,000 cheaper than the two other offers.
The demolition start date is still unknown, but Holtz said the building should be down before the end of this year. That is despite the fact that the demolition will have to be done, at least in part, by hand in order to protect the neighboring building that shares the north wall of 131 S. Main St.
The neighboring building, 129 S. Main St., is currently inhabited by two people, who will have to vacate their homes during the demolition. Lexington Avenue and Main Street by the demolition site are expected to be closed for several weeks.
The property at 131 S. Main St. is not owned by the city, but rather Jim Wagner. The building has been declared a public hazard and the city is working to get financial restitution from Wagner. Wagner’s real estate firm was administratively dissolved in 2007.
The fact that the city does not own the property limits what can be done with the downtown lot when the demolition is complete. Until the situation is resolved, the property will become a green area, said Holtz.
“So is the owner agreeable to this?” asked Board of Public Safety chairman Robert Woods.
“At this point, it doesn’t make any difference. It’s got a demolition order on it,” said Holtz. “That’s part of the problem, that he’s been kind of uncooperative, so this is what we’re being forced to do.”
The board unanimously approved the contract with Jackson Demolition Services.
Follow Rasmus S. Jorgensen on Twitter at @ReadRasmus