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Sparks says owner of abandoned building should pay for clean-up, not city

READ MORE: Sparks says owner of abandoned building should pay for clean-up, not city
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Wilmington's new convention center has a not-so-pretty next door neighbor. For months, a couple of abandoned warehouses across the street have sat in ruins. Now the City of Wilmington has decided to take on the clean-up.

"Parts of the walls are gone. We've had vagrants living in it at times, and it's just unsafe," City Councilman Ronald Sparks said. "We don't want any parts of that building falling on somebody, so we're going to tear it down."

After months of unsuccessful attempts to get the owner of the building to tear it down, the city has decided to knock it down itself.

Sparks said he's not happy the city has to foot the bill, including testing for asbestos before tearing it down.

"My opposition was not in tearing it down," he said. "It was that this particular owner should have torn it down. We're not dealing with some poor person that's unable to maintain their property. This is an LLC, a company, that was set up to do some development, and this building was in this development site the whole time."

Sparks feels the owner of the building is using the city. He said the building used to be a valuable shipping company. When it changed hands, the new owners decided to demolish it, but only got halfway. Sparks thinks the company should have made demolition a priority and finished the job without bringing the city into it.

"You've got life safety risks of things on this building collapsing onto people, then you got the eye sore value of us looking at that raggedy thing every time you have a convention," Sparks said.

Sparks said tax dollars will pay for the upfront costs, but he says tax payers will get the money back, because the city has filed a lien against the property.

There is no timeline yet on when the asbestos testing and demolition will take place.

We tried to get in touch with Chuck Schoninger, the owner of the property. He has not returned our calls.

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Conflicts, Stadiums and "Abandoned" Buildings

Is this all part of a larger effort to fleece us for more than just tearing a building down. Part of an ongoing effort to sell us on a multi-million dollar stadium like the convention center, perhaps using the current dilapidated building as part of the pitch from our elected officials who seem to be involved personally and financially in this stadium. www.wwaytv3.com/if_you_build_it/03/2010

A further look shows rick catlin, the county commissioner, is a partner or financial beneficiary of this stadium too isn't that a conflict. How much will this cost us Catlin and co.? http://www.usainvestco.com/assets/marinaHotelBusinessPlan.pdf

"Government Support and Incentives.
The developer has completed and executed a development agreement with the City of Wilmington...."

Is Rick Catlin the only official making money off a taxpayer-funded stadium? This isn't about an abandoned building, is it City Council?

Good Call Councilman Sparks

Thank You Mr. Sparks for your rightful stance on this issue! Now, while you're on that block of Nutt St. will you have the sidewalk contractor clean the excessive amounts of concrete from the expensive (and appropriate) granite curbs. It is disheartenting that whomever poured these new sidewalks did not protect such a taxpayer investment. I am relatively certain that less than $100 of materials and five minutes to cover the curbs would have ensured acceptable workmanship. Now, the contractor should be made to chip away all the excess concrete to reveal the granite in a manner which it was specified by the designer. And of course, all the while keep surrounding surfaces clean and undamaged. (like asphalt, if the top layer is down)

Do the job and give him the bill.

Hey, can the city get the job done and legally get the owner to pay for it? Can they give him a deadline on taking care of it on his own with penalties if he does not comply? Let's get'er done!

The construction people used it

If I recall correctly, that building was used as construction headquarters while the PPD building was under construction. Hard to believe that piece of garbage sits next to the world headquarters for PPD .

Hey Ron...

How soon will the taxpayers get their money back for the POS Convention Center you and your cronies built? We've been "fronting" the funds long enough...it's payback time.

I certainly hope the Convention Center will release it's annual operating results so we can listen to you and the other sitting Council members explain it's operating losses and somehow justify them to us.

I agree

It should be up to the owner to clean up his land. The only reason the City is looking to have it takin down now, it because of the convention center..

If the city does take it down they have a lean on the property and should be paid back when all is said and done.. or should I say tax payers..

City Eyesore

Well if the city is basically seizing the property and placing a lien on it, then yes the city should have to pay the cost of demolition of the buildings, not the owners, you can't take something away from someone then bill them for it, unless it's life in some form, that's being harmed, and that's not the case here!

The warehouse was there

The warehouse was there before the convention center was even thought of. The owners should not be forced to tear down their property simply because in someones opinion it looks bad. Probably in the not too distant future, the convention center will also be abandoned.