The demolition of the commercial building next to the Magic Wok restaurant started earlier this month.
Pictured above to the left of the Magic Wok is the demolished portion of the building that once housed the Tienda Nony grocery and Appalachian Frame Shop. (Both stores have relocated to new locations in Oak Ridge; Tienda Nony is in a shopping center off Bus Terminal Road, and Appalachian Frame Shop is at Grove Center.) The area to the right of Magic Wok once housed the Classic Cleaners.
In November, a city board ordered the building demolished within 30 days. The demolition order, which was issued earlier this month, does not apply to the Magic Wok, which is in a separate diner on the western side of the building.
The building owners had previously considered preserving about 5,500 square feet in three units on the western side of the property, among a few options. Those units would have included the demolished part of the building pictured above.
But earlier this month, Oak Ridge Community Development Housing Specialist Matt Widner said that portion won’t be preserved. Instead, the entire building will be demolished, Widner said.
Although the manufactured structure that houses the Magic Wok will remain for now, the restaurant won’t be able to operate without additional space for food storage. The owners haven’t announced their plans, and a sign that has been posted in a restaurant window for weeks said the Magic Wok is “closed for regrouping.” Widner said the city will wait for a plan.
Widner said the building slab will also be torn up, although the parking lot will remain. Part of the building once housed The Oak Ridger newspaper. More recently, the shopping center housed a dry cleaner, thrift store, wig shop, Tienda Nony, and the Magic Wok’s food preparation and overflow dining areas.
The Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals issued the 30-day demolition order in a 6-0 vote in November.
The building, which was once known as the Wender Building, is at 123 and 135 East Tyrone Road and just north of Oak Ridge Turnpike in the Jackson Square area.
The city staff had said the partially occupied commercial structure had been declared unfit for human occupation or use because of code violations. The staff said the estimated cost of repairs exceeded 50 percent of the building’s value, which is an important benchmark for issuing a demolition order. The staff had said the building was in a state of disrepair, lacked adequate fire and panic exits, and the roof and interior had not been adequately maintained for several years.