The deadline for the demolition of a commercial building that was once home to The Oak Ridger newspaper and other businesses on Tyler and East Tyrone roads expires Thursday, November 13, and a city board could reconsider a repair or demolition order that day.
The partially occupied commercial structure has been declared unfit for human occupation or use because of code violations, the city staff said.
The Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals previously tabled the repair or demolition order for five months to allow for partial demolition in preparation for the construction of the remaining building. The demolition deadline expires Thursday, and permit applications are to be submitted to the city by December.
The potential demolition and repair orders to be considered Thursday would not apply to the separate manufactured structure that now houses the popular Magic Wok restaurant.
In May, an engineer and surveyor told the board that the western part of the building near the Magic Wok restaurant would remain, and so would the diner itself. Plans then called for demolishing roughly 26,000 square feet of the building, which has housed a wide variety of businesses since the 1940s, down to the slab. The demolition of the property, which is also known as the Wender Building after a former owner, would include the space occupied for decades by Classic Cleaners.
But it’s not clear if the demolition plans have changed or how far along they are.
The Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals has previously given extensions to the owners—Shiu-Yen Wang Ma and Ta-Shun Etal—including to try to sell the damaged property or develop a repair or demolition plan.
The two cases against the owners concern the commercial building at 123 and 135 East Tyrone Road, just north of Oak Ridge Turnpike near Jackson Square. They exclude the manufactured structure that houses the Magic Wok, but they do include the areas in the small shopping center that have recently housed a dry cleaner, thrift store, wig shop, Mexican grocery, and the Magic Wok’s food preparation and overflow dining areas.
The staff said the estimated cost of repairs exceeds 50 percent of the building’s value.
The agenda for Thursday’s meeting said the building is in a state of disrepair, lacks adequate fire and panic exits, and the roof and interior have not been adequately maintained for several years.
“This has allowed further dilapidation and decay to occur in the majority of the building, which increases the hazards of fire, accident, or other,” the agenda said. “Required fire sprinkler system throughout is out of service due to a catastrophic failure, which further causes the entire building to be dangerous to the health and safety of the occupants and general public.”
Thursday’s meeting starts at 3 p.m. in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Training Room. See the agenda here: November 13, 2014 BBHCA Agenda.
Separately, the board will consider declaring two vacant single-family and one multi-family homes as unfit for human occupation or use, and consider demolition orders for all three. The homes are at 157 Wade Lane, 223 Hillside Road, and 145 Spelman Avenue. In all three cases, the owners are interested in selling the property to the city, the staff said.
Here is a map showing the location of 135 East Tyrone Road:
Here is a map showing the location of 123 East Tyrone Road: