Melvindale officials push for demolition of fire-damaged grocery store

Photo by Sue Suchyta Melvindale Building Official Brad Burns (right) updates the city council Feb. 20 on the status of the teardown of the burned-out Oakwood Food Center while interim Parks and Recreation director Susan Louvet listens.

Photo by Sue Suchyta
Melvindale Building Official Brad Burns (right) updates the city council Feb. 20 on the status of the teardown of the burned-out Oakwood Food Center while interim Parks and Recreation director Susan Louvet listens.

By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers

MELVINDALE – Building official Brad Burns told city council members Feb. 20 that while the demolition contractor has pulled permits, the city is discussing its legal options if demolition of the burned-out Oakwood Food Center is further delayed.

“We are making progress, but we are still putting a fire under him and holding it to him, and we had a discussion earlier this week of our legal rights to go after him if he doesn’t,” Burns said.

City Attorney Larry Coogan said the escrow is about $60,000, so there is money to fund the demolition.

“They indicated to us they would start by the end of the month,” Coogan said. “We are pretty close to the end of the month. We have not seen them start yet, so at that point I think we would recommend that we start giving them citations. It can be up to $500 a day.”

Burns said the contractor plans to separate the steel during the teardown, so the demolition should take about 30 days.

“Every time I come in, I drive down Oakwood, waiting, looking over there,” he said. “If he doesn’t do what he says he is going to do, then we are going to take him to court and start hitting him where it counts – in the pocket book.”
Councilwoman Michelle Land said that with the owner taking so long to tear down the burned building, she is left with the impression that the owner does not intend to rebuild the store.

Burns said he has mixed feeling with respect to whether the store is rebuilt, but he said getting the fire damaged building demolished is his first priority.

(Sue Suchyta can be reached at sue.suchyta@yahoo.com.)