Construction workers are busy taking down a brick wall, between the old Cheng-Du Restaurant, and the Kabob House, so that a building at 762 Washington Street, damaged by a fire and roof collapse, can be rebuilt.
But even though the project stems from an accident that occurred five months ago, the project continues to move slowly, and there is no certain date as to when the building will be renovated.
Acting Building Commissioner Robert Grover said the work began last week, and no further work can be done until that’s completed. He said two engineering reports have shown that the wall must be taken down, in order to do any further construction work.
The town took action to renovate the building complex after a section of a at 762 Washington Street late January. The building had previously been gutted by a fire that took place in October 2009. Since then, it had been boarded up, with workers slowly repairing the inside of it. The repair work didn’t start until about a year after the fire, Grover said.
The building is owned by Freeman Corporation, which is owned by David Parsons. His office, Malcolm & Parsons Insurance, is housed in the other part of the building, at 770 Washington Street.
After the roof collapsed, Grover said the town wrote letters to Parsons and Bill Piazza, who owns the building on the other side of the complex (which houses the former Kabob House and ), that required that they hire engineering companies to access the damage.
“Both agreed it had to be cleaned up,” he said.
The engineering reports showed that the side wall between the two buildings had to be taken down, and after that, Piazza was required to get a demolition permit and take down the wall.
Grover said the reason the work has progressed slowly is because both building owners were held up through insurance policies. He said the project will continue to be slow for safety reasons. The wall has to be taken down brick by brick, so that debris does not fall into the vacant building, which could do further damage, or the street.
Grover said the fate of the building cannot be fully accessed until the side wall is completely taken down, at which time engineers will evaluate the foundation’s soundness. He said the building’s owner (Freeman Corporation) will be responsible for paying for the engineering report, and he will not approve any further building repairs until he signs off on that report.
Though Parsons has said that the building is simply going to be repaired, Grover disagrees. At a minimum, he said, the front wall has got to be taken down.
The building was gutted on October, 2009, after a kitchen fire started at the . After many months of uncertainly, the restaurant’s owners, Lei and Tina Tang, decided to , across from Shaw’s Plaza.
After the roof collapse, the owner of the Kabob House, Said “Felix” Safai, was , due to safety concerns. Initially he thought he would be closing for 30 days, until the wall was repaired, but the project was held up due to insurance issues.
After several more months, Safai decided to , and he is now running the concession stand at Memorial Beach. Olivio’s Grille and Pizzaria, however, remains open for business.