ANDERSON, Ind. — A plan may be in motion to finally bring down the old Nicholson File building.
The process could take several years because the building would be taken apart piece by piece, but it would be less expensive and more environmentally friendly than typical demolitions.
The Chicago-area Kotas family owns the building on south Columbus Avenue, and they are ready to get rid of it. It has been mostly vacant for more than 20 years, except for a few small businesses here and there that leased space up until 10 or 15 years ago, said Gary McKinney, who oversees brownfield redevelopment for the city.
The property is considered a brownfield — a former industrial or commercial property that has been left vacant and has contamination, and needs to be cleaned up before used again, McKinney said.
AMR Demolition, out of Greensburg, Ind., has submitted a proposal to the family to deconstruct the building by taking it apart piece by piece.
Workers would take the building down by removing each individual brick, metal and wooden piece and equipment. They would clean the materials and recycle and re-sell 95 percent of them, McKinney said.
“There is very little cost involved because the company makes money from recycling,” McKinney said, as he explained the project during a Board of Public Works meeting last week.
The project would cost $200,000 and includes removal of asbestos, which is extensive, McKinney said. The family would foot the bill and would be responsible for any further contamination clean up.
Past estimates for a regular demolition have ranged from $500,000 to $1 million, he said.
“This is huge for Anderson,” said Mayor Kevin Smith. “It’s been sitting vacant as brownfield with suspected ground contaminants for 20 years.
“It’s a challenging project,” he said. “Local government doesn’t have the funds to clean up the site, let alone demolish it.”
The deconstruction demolition could take one to five years to complete, McKinney said.
The Kotas family would pay for the demolition, but is requesting assistance from the county and city.
The family wants the city to forgive past due storm water fees totaling about $53,000, said Pete Heuer, the board of public works chairman. The family also wants future storm water fees to be waived during the demolition process.
The family will also ask that the county assessor provide them with property tax relief, and asked the city for their support in this request. The family wants the assessor to consider suspending property taxes during the demolition period.
The total in savings for the family would be $181,000 if the city and county don’t charge for storm fees or property taxes for five years, McKinney said.
Heuer said the board would support the project and waiving of the storm water fees, but wanted a written proposal and contract from the Kotas family detailing their plans.
“It would be great if we can get the property cleaned up and ready for redevelopment,” he said.
Smith said that the city began discussion of this demolition project about six years ago, during his first term.
Chad Pigg had been in charge of the city’s brownfield redevelopment at that time, and has continued working with the site as the director of business development for Sesco Group, an Indinapolis-based environmental investigation and remediation firm. Pigg was present at last week’s meeting with the city, representing the property and owners.
Pigg will be updating the Kotas family on the city’s discussion and request for a written proposal, and hopefully another meeting will be held soon to move forward, McKinney said.
“We are excited about this partnership,” he said. “The building is not the most beautiful building in the word, and since it’s a high-traffic area, everyone who drives by sees it. We would be getting rid of an eye-sore, and improving the property, which could be redeveloped. And then you have the deconstruction idea, which means we are not dumping material into a landfill.”
Contact Melanie Hayes: 648-4250, firstname.lastname@example.org