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Albany razes dilapidated Shoney's restaurant

Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard, left, and Albany City Commissioner Jon Howard speak with a reporter about the demolition of a dilapidated restaurant in East Albany on Sept. 6, 2012. The demolition is part of the city's effort to get rid of blighted buildings.

Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard, left, and Albany City Commissioner Jon Howard speak with a reporter about the demolition of a dilapidated restaurant in East Albany on Sept. 6, 2012. The demolition is part of the city's effort to get rid of blighted buildings.

— Anyone with even a modicum of understanding of the goings-on of the Albany City Commission knows there are two sure things about Ward 1 Commissioner Jon Howard: He’ll vote no on any item that has to do with alcohol and he is an unflinching proponent of blight cleanup.

So Howard was truly in his element Thursday morning as he and Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard inspected the remaining bit of rubble at the old Shoney’s restaurant site just off Oglethorpe Boulevard in East Albany.

“What this means to the people of Albany is that we’re one step closer in trying to beautify our city and we’ve gotten rid of one more eyesore,” Howard said as he and Hubbard visited the site after an early Pension Board meeting. “This kind of thing will impact our city for years to come.

“Places like this are eyesores, but they also pose health risks. Plus, if a business is considering locating in Albany and they see an old building like this, it’s not very likely they’re going to invest five or 10 million dollars when a place just like this could end up next to their building.”

Hubbard, who promised during her mayoral campaign to make blight cleanup one of her priorities, said the demolition of such delapidated structures as the Shoney’s site, the former Heritage House hotel on West Oglethorpe Boulevard and the run-down ex-Ford dealership on Slappey Boulevard offers visitors a more positive image of Albany.

“I’m not quite sure how many, but we have a number of other properties on our demolition schedule,” she said. “This one has been on the list for a long time, and it’s the kind of place that can negatively impact economic development as well as invite criminal activity.

“This building caught fire in 2011; another reason we’re so glad to see it come down. We’ve now placed a lien on the property, so no development can take place here (by the owner) until that lien is taken care of.”

Howard said demolition of such properties can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $5,000, but costs could double if asbestos or soil contamination are present.

At its business session on Aug. 28, the City Commission OK’d an additional $150,000 above budget sought by Code Enforcement to finance ongoing demolition efforts. Howard said that will be money well-spent.

“My vote will continue to be in favor of blight cleanup,” he said. “As long as these eyesores or there, I believe we have to continue to work to tear them down.”

Comments

bigbob 2 years, 1 month ago

You could destroy a delapitated building a day in Albany & it would still take years to get rid of all of them. The taxpayers foot the bill & the land is sold to insiders for about nothing.

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Amazed2 2 years, 1 month ago

Queen Dorothy the demo Queen. Yes but we get those old buildings off the tax roles. That way we dont have do many to keep up with. Funny I never see anything of real importance in the news from our Queen. She does proclamations for fashion shows and makes appearances at demlition sites. Guess statements on crime, gangs, DCSS, etc are Not anything worthy of Queen Dorothy.

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FryarTuk 2 years, 1 month ago

Is the lien on the property equal to the cost of the demolition and cleanup? When the lien is satisfied does the money go back into the general tax coffers? I hope the answer is affirmative for both questions.

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Albanite 2 years, 1 month ago

That fire was questionable. Who are the owners and why weren't they named in this article?

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dingleberry 2 years, 1 month ago

Owner is Royal Priesthood International, Phenix City AL. Property is zoned commercial with taxes still owed for 2010 and 2011, over $8,000 with penalty/interest. Taxes for 2012 will be around $2,000. Totally disagree with Jon's understated estimate on teardown cost when labor, equipment and tipping charges to Oxford's landfill are considered. Don't think the money will ever be returned through lien and property will eventually be on a tax sale.

The city needs to take a hard look at demo costs. Also need to look at ability to pay a little closer. We may have paid to teardown houses owned by Capitol City Bank behind Heritage House and may wind up with the land as our property. We have a lot of such properties to deal with and now is not the time to get soft on the issue.

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billybob 2 years, 1 month ago

Now if we could just find a way to dismiss our dilapidated citizens. Anyone have good suggestions on how to handle human blight?

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whattheheck 2 years, 1 month ago

The old Haley Ford building was knocked down with private money while the Heritage House was a demo with public money.We need more "private" to step up to the plate and take out their trash--with their money. We certainly don't need to wind up owning more vacant land that is off the tax rolls as tax exempt.

Although the exempt tax digest totals around $700 million, compared to the taxable roll at around $2 billion, the tax exempt portion is likely understated by a minimum of $700 million more, which would put it at about $1.4 billion.

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