Holiday inn

Demolition of former Holiday Inn still facing asbestos-related delays

The demolition of the former Holiday Inn property still has setbacks with asbestos removal.

On Monday, a review hearing of the old Holiday Inn case was supposed to take place, but it turned into a planning session. The owner of the property, Jeff Kern, appeared in court by telephone and concerns have been expressed over demolition delays as the cold creeps into Midland.

Midland City attorney James Branson said Kern recently replaced his former attorney, Richard Wolney, with attorney Floyd Gates, who appeared before Zoom at the hearing. Kern previously added and dropped a lawyer earlier this year, making this Kern the third legal representative since this case began. Kern also changed his building contractors, Branson said.

This caused the review hearing to be postponed for about 45 days until December, giving everything a fresh start, Branson said. No demolition progress has been made since the previous hearing on September 20, he said. At the last hearing, the building would have been demolished between 55 and 66%.

The remaining part of the building that is still standing is an asbestos hearth.

Gates said he would learn something from the Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) over the next 45 days. Judge Michael Carpenter of the 75th District Court has therefore set the review hearing for 9 a.m. on December 6. The judge will ask what part of the building is demolished and how many Kern fines have been paid. Kern is scheduled to appear in person, Carpenter said.

Gates said the building will not be destroyed by December 6, but said the building must be destroyed. He contacted an asbestos removal and demolition company and asked them to visit the site. The company returned and said the building was in horrible condition and was in danger of collapsing. Gates had two options.

One option was to reduce asbestos and then demolish the building. The second option is to demolish the building because it contains asbestos. This means that the building would be demolished and then the remaining debris would be treated for asbestos. This would save time by not reducing asbestos, but would increase removal time, Gates said.

The company said the building could be a candidate for this process, so they contacted EGLE, and the representative said that a local building official needed to determine if the building was at risk of collapsing or receive this notice from an engineer. in structure. Gates said EGLE would check the site itself to see if it would allow Kern to continue demolishing because it contained asbestos.

Branson said Kern should employ a structural engineer to determine if the building is in danger of immediate collapse. He also said it would be dangerous to send a city inspector.

Because of this, Carpenter said this option didn’t seem viable, but Gates said it was the only viable option. Gates said the company said the building could be down in the next 60 to 90 days, but that depends on the weather. If the building is demolished with asbestos, it has to get wet while doing so, which would be a problem once winter arrives.

Branson said he was concerned about the safety of the building, with a section of the back door removed and the building’s doors wide open. He said it’s a magnet for people to walk into, with new graffiti recently discovered on the building.

The 142,500 square foot property has been doomed since 2018. The city filed a lawsuit against Kern in 2020 after a long period of little action by the owner to demolish the structure at 1500 W. Wackerly St.

Carpenter said that if after some time no progress is made, Kern could again face contempt of court charges.

“I think you’re working on it, but I’m going to keep looking into this case until this building is down,” Carpenter said.

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