Township seeks order to demo old mallPublished 6:00am Saturday, January 2, 2010
By AARON MUELLER
Niles Daily Star
Looking at it today, it’s hard to believe the Eastgate Shopping Center on Oak Street was once one of the more popular places to shop in Niles.
The strip mall, a community hotspot in the 1960s and 70s, has been vacant since 2006 and has become a community eyesore.
The roofs of the heavily vandalized building are decaying, the electric and heating units have been stripped down by people who have entered the building, the walls are mold infested and the back of the building has been used as a trash dump at times.
But Eastgate may finally be on its way out this coming year.
In September, the township gave notice to the building’s owner, MoorPark Associates LLC in Van Nuys, Calif., that it must be either brought up to code or demolished, according to Niles Charter Township Supervisor Jim Kidwell.
“They were supposed to get back with us back in October with a plan to either demolish it or bring it back up to code,” Kidwell said. “They confirmed to us in a letter they were in the process of contacting people to demolish it. That letter didn’t give us what their plans were other than that.”
After getting no further details about the demolition, the township sent another letter to MoorPark, notifying the company that it had until the end of the year to take action or the township would demolish it.
The deadline came and went and now Kidwell says the township is working to get a court order to be able to demolish the building.
The township is also beginning to take bids from demolition companies. Kidwell has already received estimates between $72,000 and $350,000. The money would likely be borrowed from the township general fund but would be returned after the 52-acre property is sold.
“It’s good, because the taxpayers aren’t out any money,” Kidwell said.
The township will not consider bringing the building up to code, a project township building official Jeff Dunlap estimates would cost $5.8 million.
Kidwell hopes to have Eastgate completely demolished and the property cleared by the end of the summer.
“It’s coming to the point where it’s a health and safety issue now,” he said. “We get two to three calls a week about Eastgate, saying something has to be done with it.”