City announces demolition of former Varsity restaurant

ccope@thestate.comOctober 31, 2013 

City of Columbia officials announced the demolition of an abandoned building on Main Street that was once home to the Varsity restaurant and the Park Avenue Night Club.

Councilman Sam Davis called the vacant building at 2706 Main St. an “eyesore,” and authorities have deemed it unsafe.

No date for the demolition was given.

Within the past two years, the city has demolished 50 abandoned or derelict homes. This is the first commercial structure to be demolished within that same timeframe, said Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine.

This building had about 19 citations, said Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins. The citations were issued for problems such as failing to repair the roof, failing to secure windows, failing to repair the ceiling.

A red X was placed on the front door to let firefighters know not to go inside in case of a fire, because of safety concerns such as the structure of the building and asbestos, said Brick Lewis, spokesman for the fire department.

Ellen Cooper, immediate past president of the Cottontown/Bellevue Neighborhood Association, said the building has been vacant for years.

She said she was looking forward to it coming down.

Mayor Steve Benjamin said the demolition and streetscaping plans for the area show growth.

“North Columbia is on the rise,” Benjamin said.

Reach Cope at 803-771-8657 or on Twitter @cassielcope

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