As of 9:30am the building at 120 South Park was still intact (see history). That was good to see. This morning started off, for me, with a text message from Rocco Termini saying that he would provide one of his engineers to the people behind the preservation effort. Good news. I also received an email of support from Roger Trettel, a developer who is working on a project just down the street. More good news. I found it numbing to learn that various developers had attempted to purchase the old blacksmith building over the years, to no avail.
Tim Tielman is now working on getting the message through to Judge Nowak that there is an engineer who is willing to go into the building in order to conduct a secondary evaluation of the property. Without access to the building there is no hope. Now the issue is in The City’s court… as usual. I find it mind boggling that there have been proven developers with excellent track records waiting in the wings to tackle a project at that corner. Not only were they not successful in obtaining the building, the owner refused to do anything but let it fall apart.
The Landmark Preservation Board should be on this case now. The group can help to stop the demo. They can force the owner’s hand if they want to. The City has the power to force his hand as well… if it wants to. The City has the ability to demand that the owner shore up the building to make it safe (if a third party engineer gets access), and if the owner does not follow through with the necessary repairs then a lien can be imposed. Maybe that’s the loophole that is needed. Make the repairs so demanding (and the lien) that the owner does not want to hold on to the building and would rather sell it. That would be the way to get it out of the owner’s hands and into the hands of one of the developers that would actually reuse the structure.
Unbelievably, things are looking up. There needs to be a tactical plan put together if the stars do align. It looks like we might have the afternoon to get the engineer inside. The engineer is ready to go, and developers are sounding off on the need for a plan if the emergency demolition is averted. More on all of this shortly.