Four years later, why is downtown building still condemned?
It was Memorial Day 2018 when heavy rain caused the roof of a downtown building to cave in and collapse. A very loud boom could be heard for several blocks, although downtown was basically empty on account of the holiday.
Now, Memorial Day 2022 is right around the corner, which will mark four full years since the collapse. However, aside from some fencing, a barricade and a PARDON OUR PROGRESS sign, the property largely looks the same as it did when the roof collapsed.
It’s not just the fact that the property at 109 South Wayne St. is an eye sore. It’s also the parking places that have been taken out of circulation due to safety concerns and keeping people as far away from the building as possible.
The property at 109 S. Wayne Street previously was home to Doc Oliver's poolroom and Sonny's Brew & Cue. It'd already been vacant for several years prior to the building collapse.
It this was a football game, we’d finally be in the fourth quarter. That’s the good news.
“I would be extremely surprised if the building looks (the same as it does now) in 12 months,” City Attorney Jimmy Jordan told Baldwin2k News this week.
However, why has it taken so long, and why hasn't the problem been fixed by now? Well, it's sort of complicated. Much of it is legalese and has to do with litigation and mitigation and codes and statutes. Also, the building's owner, an older gentleman named Larry Simmons from Conyers, seems to think that the property is worth at least $500,000. At that price, there have no takers. City Hall also offered to work with Simmons on a "revolving loan fund" through the Department of Community Affairs, but "the building's owner never filled out the application," according to City Councilman Walter Reynolds, whose district includes the heart of downtown.
"We have put a number of options on the table," Reynolds said.
Now, City Hall finally is in the process of placing a lien on the property and ultimately foreclosing on the lien. Jordan said that he's working with an appraiser, and once the appraisal is finished, the legal proceedings will accelerate.