Columbus Ohio Arcade Demolition

NEWARK, Ohio – Buildings keep toppling in Newark, thanks to a little help from the state.

The latest went down yesterday, as a 114-year-old, three-story building next to City Hall was demolished after being deemed unsafe by the city’s property-maintenance and public-safety departments this year.

To date, 86 Licking County buildings – the majority residential units whose owners ignored repeated code violations – have been demolished since August 2012, when the Ohio Attorney General’s Moving Ohio Forward grant was made available.

Of those, 51 demolitions took place in Newark, including the Chilcote and Jones building taken down yesterday at 20/22 N. 4th Street at the intersection of W. Main Street downtown.

The building, in foreclosure, is owned by Manuel Vela. Code violations dating to 2010 have been levied against the building, none of which were ever corrected, said Joe Paul, Newark’s property maintenance code official.

After numerous attempts to reach Vela for remedy went unanswered, city Safety Director Bill Spurgeon ordered the demolition.

“It was a safety hazard,” Spurgeon said. “Something had to be done.”

Demolition of the brick building was complicated by a shared retaining wall with the adjacent Arcade, a 100-foot-long mall containing a Pounder’s Pub and a handful of shops. The Arcade is the oldest of only eight glass-enclosed malls in Ohio.

Demolition of the Chilcote and Jones building “will open up new economic development in Newark and create more exposure to the Arcade and its businesses,” said Newark Development Director Mark Mauter.

Arcade owner Tom Cotton agreed, adding that interest in leasing space in the Arcade jumped after the announcement of the demolition of its neighbor, which likely will become a parking lot.

The cost of the demolition was about $300,000, of which the grant will cover half. An additional $75,000 was donated by Newark residents who were interested in seeing the building come down.

The remaining $75,000 will be covered by the sale of two city-owned properties