The loss of the two side-by-side structures at
"With the loss of those two, I think we are in good shape," said
"But if we start losing any more, we could be in jeopardy," Daws said. "That would be a call by the state Historic Preservation Office."
The property owner,
"When the economy collapsed, banks didn't like lending for dilapidated buildings, so the funding become impossible to get," said Sanitz, who owns other buildings on Person and Hay streets downtown.
The downtown historic district runs along Hay and Person streets around the Market House and includes some outlying blocks. In it, property owners must get permission for making exterior changes. Owners have been eligible to earn 20 percent state tax credits for restoring contributing buildings in the historic district, although that credit is scheduled to expire this year.
Sanitz sought last year to apply for a demolition permit, but the city's
With no buyers, the one-year moratorium expired this spring, and the
Daws said demolition of contributing buildings in the district is rare.
The two buildings were inspected and condemned as dangerous structures in fall 2011. The walls, doors, ceilings, roof rafters and heating and cooling systems all need repair, inspectors said.
In 2012, city workers erected orange barriers in front of the buildings, after concerns that their crumbling brick and concrete facades could hurt passers-by. The sidewalk remains partially open in front of the two buildings.
Sanitz, who is 48 and has since moved to
"Our aim is to keep the historic buildings, but sometimes they get so much into a state of disrepair, this happens," Grant said. "I think now we are working harder at getting to the owners before they get to the stage of
Grant doesn't expect the land to remain vacant for long after the buildings are razed.
"I do think it will stimulate some interest, and we will see some new construction," he said.
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