Quincy taxpayers no longer expected to pay to demolish a burned out building

WGEM News at Ten
Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 10:51 PM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - Quincy Mayor Mike Troup announced taxpayers won’t have to cover an $80,000 bill to tear down a building that caught fire earlier this year.

Andy Caley, the property owner of the 649 State Street building, said the plan is to remove just the 3rd floor of the building, turn it into a two-story building, fix it up and provide housing for families in need.

Caley said it was never his desire to see the building torn down.

“And it was never our desire to see taxpayers pay for this building,” Caley said.

He said one day before he closed on the property, he found out it was uninsurable after it caught fire and sat vacant for 12 years.

“We could have walked away at that time, which maybe I should have done that,” Caley said. “But we saw the opportunity to improve this neighborhood for the city and develop much-needed housing.”

He said it’s listed as a property under his Microplex Limited Liability Company (LLC) meaning it has corporate protection and if anything were to happen, it would protect them from personal liability.

“And the repercussions would have been limited legally towards us,” Caley said. “But we would have never done that. That was never our intention.”

Then it caught fire again on May 18th. City Planning and Development Director Chuck Bevelheimer said the city sought bids to tear it down for nearly $80,000.

“As we got into the nitty gritty of that with his attorney, it became less likely that the demolition was going to be agreeable to all parties,” Bevelheimer said.

He said Caley came to an agreement with the city last week to repurpose the building for at least $350,000.

“This way the building is not demolished, the city is not paying out the money for the forced demolition,” Bevelheimer said. “It leaves us from going through court and legal proceedings.”

And it allows Caley to go through with his plan to put three apartments on the 2nd floor and three more on the 1st.

A plan that Bevelheimer agrees will benefit development and housing needs in areas west of 12th Street.

“As a city inspection office, we had to balance the potential threat to public health and safety, if those walls were to, unfortunately, collapse,” Bevelheimer said.

As far as this building on the back half of the property, Caley said it sustained minimal water damage from putting out the fire. He said that has since been remediated. He plans to keep using it for commercial purposes.

Caley said they have eight weeks to tear out the 3rd floor. In week nine, they will reinstall the roof system. In week 10, they will start boarding up the building and working on its windows.

Monday night council amended and adopted an ordinance where it won’t have to increase the funds of its Fix or Flatten program to cover this project.

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