Arguably the city’s most visible symbol of decay and neglect, the boarded-up and abandoned apartment building at 1468 W. 117th St., will be razed within the next 48 hours, according to a city official who confirmed that the process would begin Wednesday.
The property has been fenced off and prepared for the demolition team. Depending upon the site conditions, efforts to topple the large brick structure may be delayed until Thursday.
An 80-year-old Pepper Pike man owned the Highland Manor apartment building for more than 20 years, before losing it through foreclosure in the summer of 2009. His lender left the building in limbo by not moving it to sheriff’s auction, or taking possession of the deed. It has been generally vacant since November 2008, according to this police report from the same year.
It will be the second apartment building and fourth structure demolished on W. 117th St. in the past year. The city acquired through sheriff’s auction and tore down another brick apartment building in August 2010. Berea-based Self Service Mini Storage knocked down two residential houses it owned a couple of months ago. All of the parcels remain vacant.
The demise of the Highland Manor building marks the end of a long process the city began in mid-May 2009 after the Board of Building Standards declared the property to be an unsafe structure in need of either repair or demolition.
Four other properties earned the same designation from the city that month. Here’s a quick recap of their outcomes:
2107 Robin St.: Demolished
14124 Detroit Ave.: Repaired
The Ruth apartment building, located just to the west of Giant Eagle, was purchased out of foreclosure by a company that rehabbed it. County auditor records indicate, though, that almost $7,000 in property taxes due in 2010 from the 2009 tax year have not been paid.
13736 Madison Ave.: Demolished
North Ridgeville resident Tracy Brown bought the building in 2003 as an investment property. He started interior renovations, and then ran out of money. The lender turned it over to the city. It was demolished October 2, 2010 (see below).
2101 Dowd Ave: Repaired
Birdtown homeowner Joe Falat and the city’s building department had a long-running conflict over housing violations. After some legal wrangling, Falat agreed to convert the 4-unit building to a 2-unit house. Repair progress on the house is still underway. Falat’s name popped up on the housing court docket last week. It wasn’t clear if the situation was associated with the Dowd. Ave. property.
Speaking of demolitions…
Parking is at a premium in many areas of Lakewood. St. Peter’s Episcopal Church at 18001 Detroit Ave. solved their parking problems by acquiring the house at 1425 W. Clifton Blvd. (above) and knocking it down. The demolition took place in the fall of 2010.
Misencik Funeral Home at 12500 Madison Ave. is also pressed for parking. It purchased a long, narrow strip of pavement (seen next to the house at 1645 Lakewood Ave. in the photo above) from the city in October 2010 for $8,000 (see appraisal). The owners of Misencik also own the house, and plan to demolish it to expand their parking lot. The vacant house has been targeted by burglars.