Condemned Main Street building sold; restoration efforts to continue

Published 7:09 am Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The condemned building at 311 W. Main St. in Danville has been sold to a new owner who plans to continue restoration efforts the previous owner had been working on.

Boyle County deeds show that the property was sold to Tim Montgomery on June 30 for $85,000. Montgomery, who also owns another condemned building at 222 W. Main St., said he expects it will take about four weeks to clean up the building “and then we’ll figure out what we’re going to do with it.”

“I just wanted to get it made whole,” he said.

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According to a letter from Boyle County Building Inspector Rusty Cox, the 311 property suffered an internal “collapse” of the second floor on June 22. That prompted Danville to issue a notice requiring a demolition plan for the building. However, Ann Yager Hamlin McCrosky, one of the former owners of the building, said the word “collapse” misrepresents what occurred and the building is still structurally very sound.

“It didn’t collapse. The building is still standing,” she said. “… It’s not a good portrayal of what happened. You have to know the building and you have to understand how it works.”

McCrosky, who owned the building with Harvey A. McCrosky III, said the portion of floor that fell in was “unoriginal” to the building and their plans for restoring the building already included its removal. The floor was added when the back of the building was a mercantile business; it blocked light from a skylight from reaching the mercantile storage area, she said.

McCrosky said it was tricky to figure out how to safely remove that floor because they didn’t know which parts of it were safe to walk on.

“It fell without anyone in there — it was kind of perfect,” she said. “But then everybody thought the sky was falling.”

In his letter dated June 23, Boyle County Building Inspector Rusty Cox wrote that he assessed the building following the incident, which occurred on June 22, and determined that “approximately 60 percent of the building was in dilapidated condition and that the remaining 40 percent of the building appeared structurally sound and posed no immediate problem.”

“The 60 percent that is in deplorable condition was the rear portion of the building that had suffered water damage due to the roof being in disrepair,” Cox wrote. “Over time, water had entered the building freely and had rotted the framing and floor joists to where collapse was the result.”

Danville Fire Chief Ken Pflug closed the building to anyone due to the incident. In a notice of inspection, the owners were given 14 business days to present a demolition plan prepared by a structural engineer, Code Enforcement Director Bridgette Lester said. That same notice gave the owners until July 23 to commence demolition.

Lester said those same deadlines transferred from McCrosky to Montgomery when the building was sold.

Montgomery “has been advised and is aware of all the current deadlines that are still the same deadlines,” Lester told Danville City Commission members Monday.

Demolition does not mean the whole building has to come down — it could be a partial demolition, Lester said.

The 14-day deadline to submit a demolition plan ends on Thursday.

Lester said Montgomery “is working with us” and has permission to begin debris removal in the building.

The deadlines created by the city are set in order to put an owner “on notice,” but “we have discretion to work within those guidelines as necessary,” Lester said. “We work with the property owner to gain compliance — that’s our goal.”

McCrosky said Monday the structural walls of the building are still perfectly solid and the building is “100-percent” saveable.

“If I still owned it, I would take you up in it because it’s that safe,” she said.

McCrosky said she doesn’t know why the city decided to require a demolition plan.

“They may not understand how the building works or how the building originally worked,” she said. “You have to know that — knowing the history of the building, then you can know what things were.”

Montgomery said he’s had a structural engineer look at the building and it “absolutely” seems savable. Asked about the city’s decision to require a demolition plan, Montgomery said the city “couldn’t see” what had happened to the building. He also didn’t know the extent of the damage or what had really happened until he got into the building to see it for himself, he said.

McCrosky said it was the characterization of what happened to the building as a “collapse” that helped push her to sell the building.

“We were approached with an offer (on the building),” she said. “And after the misrepresentation of what happened, I was ready to sell.”

Looking back on her four-year effort to rehab 311 W. Main St., McCrosky said “there are a lot of things that happened that I wish had happened differently,” one of them being improved communication from the city.

“I wish they had let me know certain things. I was two years in before I found out they had the building on the condemned building list,” she said. “… It’s that kind of thing that makes it very difficult when you’re working on a building and all of a sudden you get slapped with a condemnation notice you knew nothing about.”