Kirk Apartments demolition starts this morning

MASON CITY — The demolition of the fire-damaged Kirk Apartments in downtown Mason City will begin this morning.

Deputy city administrator Brent Hinson told the City Council at their meeting last night that emergency abatement procedures by the city were halted on Monday afternoon after a demolition contractor had been hired by the property owner.   “The City pulled its emergency abatement contractor from the site on the afternoon of May 15th following the authorization by the building owner’s insurance company to mobilize a specialized demolition contractor. The specialized contractor arrived on site on the afternoon of May 16th and expects to begin demolition of the building on the morning of May 17th. The initial demolition of the building is expected to be completed by the latter part of next week, with all the work completed in approximately three to four weeks total.”

Hinson says an initial agreement has been made to salvage some of the copper from the building for use at a later time.  “That’s been an area of interest with Main Street Mason City. My understanding is that they have an agreement with the property owner that they can receive the architectural salvage. Certainly there will be a limit to what can be worked out in the course of the demolition. I wouldn’t want to set expectations too high, but I do think especially with not having to go straight to emergency abatement with the way the demolition will be done, there may be more historic fabric that can be saved.”

Hinson says the site will be completely cleaned up, leveled and seeded when the contractor demobilizes.  “What city ordinance requires for a demolition of that nature is that the foundation be taken down three feet below grade, there be holes punched in the basement to allow for drainage, and then it would have to be top-dressed and seeded. The hole will be filled. It does have a full basement, it’s about a ten foot deep basement, so it’s a pretty deep basement. That will all be filled with structural clay and then it will be top-dressed and seeded.”

Hinson says the hope is that property can be redeveloped some day.   “I think the hope is that certainly losing 44 housing units is a big loss for downtown. Conversations really necessarily haven’t begun on the redevelopment aspect of that, but certainly we’d hope that there would be some bright redevelopment prospects for that site.”

People are being asked to stay out of the Kirk Apartments area as the work is being completed.