Tuesday, November 23, 2010
By JOHN APPLETON
WARE, MA – The town is ready to send engineers into the Casino Theater for inspections and assessments prior to demolition, and Town Manager Mary T. Tzambazakis said she expects the demolition to begin in January.
A special Town Meeting voted Nov. 8 to authorize an expenditure of $150,000 to demolish the 109-year-old theater building in the center of town.
Tzambazakis said she expects that the engineering work and the demolition can be done for that amount of money.
The building is owned by Fred T. McLennan, of 238 Lyman St., Holyoke.
Town officials have said that McLennan has failed repeatedly to meet court-ordered deadlines to make the building safe.
The theater building at 121 Main St., next to Veterans Park, has been fenced in by the town as a safety measure to keep people from getting inside or walking by it.
Tzambazakis said engineers will be inspecting to determine if there are issues related to lead or asbestos that would have an impact on how the building is torn down. She said she expect a bidding process for the demolition to begin in about three weeks.
Each time the town spends money on the various steps of this demolition process, it will attach a lien for the amount on the property, Tzambazakis said.
According to Registry of Deeds records, McLennan bought the theater in 2009 from Western Massachusetts Theaters Inc. for $1.
The town has a lawsuit pending against McLennan and has named Western Massachusetts Theaters as a second defendant in the suit.
CBI Consulting Inc., a firm hired by the town to inspect the building, has issued a report indicating it would cost $2 million to restore the building to good condition.
McLennan has disputed CBI’s analysis of the condition of the building and has talked about plans to reopen it.
“If you tear your theater down, you will be looking to rebuild it. That building can be fixed for $50,000,” he said.
“It is going to cost $150,000 to tear it down. It would cost $1.5 million to replace it, and they will replace it.”