City of Albert Lea looking to demo two historical buildings to protect public safety

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(ABC 6 News) – The City of Albert Lea is looking to demo two historic buildings on Broadway Ave to keep the public safe.

The city said the buildings at 324 and 332 Broadway Ave are collapsing and is recommending demolition in an effort to prevent damage to other buildings and to protect members of the community.

Because the buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, their demolition requires an Environmental Assessment Worksheet, which is open for public comment through April 14.

“Unfortunately, the buildings are too far gone to save. They are structurally deficient, unsafe and uninhabitable,” said Wayne Sorensen, building official for the City of Albert Lea. "We’re just looking forward to trying to save what we can on the rest of the block. This is the rest of the buildings so taking down these two buildings will save the rest of the block so to speak. We are looking at having it available for redevelopment."

Both buildings are in severe disrepair, with collapsing interior floors and other structural damage. Pieces falling off the exterior pose a risk to pedestrians on the sidewalk below.

“Leaving the buildings alone is not an answer. We need to take action to protect the structural integrity of the adjacent buildings. Creating a gravel lot is not a good answer. We need to turn the space into an amenity,” said City Manager Ian Rigg.

The demolition would start with removing and disposing of hazardous materials, including asbestos. A general contractor would then remove the building materials with disposal in an approved demolition landfill.

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