Two buildings may come tumbling down

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Suffolk News-Herald

Officials are hoping to raze two downtown buildings that once housed city departments this spring

On Jan. 18, city leaders will ask the Historic Landmarks Commission to issue a certificate of appropriateness for the demolition of adjacent buildings at the intersection of Market and West Washington streets.

Email newsletter signup

For years, city’s inspections and public utilities departments were located in the two buildings. Both structures are somewhat dilapidated and have been vacant for extended periods of time, said Gerry Jones, the city’s director of capital programs.

&uot;We don’t want the buildings to become problems from a public safety standpoint,&uot; Jones said.

If approved, the demolitions would be the fourth city-owned buildings to come down in just over a year.

Last year, a demolition team took down the former Suffolk Public School administration building piece by piece, Jones said.

Demolition of the Birdsong Recreation Center is now under way, he said.

Work, delayed by the holidays, is set to begin later this week, as soon as Virginia Natural Gas gets rolling.

&uot;Once they start, it will probably take about 45 days to complete,&uot; said Jones.

That demolition paves the way for extending Finney Avenue to the west, ultimately to Wellons Street, and creating a clear North Main Street vista for the $22 million Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.

Built in 1958, Birdsong provided recreational facilities for generations of Suffolk youth. It has not been used since August, when Department of Parks and Recreation offices were relocated and program activities were moved to other facilities. Once the building is down, the city’s public utilities department will spend about eight months doing roughly $450,000 in utility work, replacing pipes, fixing underground utilities, and other jobs.