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Demolition of fire damaged downtown Augusta building to start Monday

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Demolition of the Brislan Building on Broad Street will begin Monday, seven months after fire ravaged the historic structure.

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Thompson Building Wrecking Co. has spent the week preparing the site at 1162 Broad St. for demo work, which is scheduled to last 45 weekdays, said Jason Bylinowski, an IT worker for the company.

A demolition permit was issued by the city July 30.

To avoid being caught in the middle of a construction zone, the owner of an adjacent tattoo parlor is temporarily moving his business to another downtown storefront.

“We have an adjoining wall,” explained John Guanlao, the owner of Immaculate Ink Custom Tattoo. “My main concern was exposure to whatever building hazards are in there. I just wanted to protect my customers and my employees from falling bricks.”

Guanlao said he’s set up a full-service shop at 1285 Broad St. that he plans to use for at least two months. His rented space at 1160 Broad St. will undergo renovations while the building next door is torn down, he said.

The three-story Brislan Building has sat empty since a Jan. 3 blaze left it with heavy interior fire and water damage. The 15,000-square-foot structure was built in 1903 and housed six upstairs apartments and Downtown Dental, which was forced to close after the fire.

The portion of 12th Street between Broad and Ellis streets also has remained blocked off as a safety precaution from any falling debris around the building.

In late June, property owner Michael Osbon presented post-demolition plans to the Augusta Historic Preservation Commission that showed a new 10,000-square-foot, two-story building in place of the fire-damaged structure. The proposal calls for 10 single-bedroom apartments on both floors or a mixture of commercial and residential space.

A timeline has not been established for the development, which could hit a snag if Osbon doesn’t secure ownership of a neighboring alley to create gated parking for tenants. Osbon, the president of the Julian W. Osbon Partnership, has said that gated parking is necessary to justify charging the high rent prices required to make the project feasible.

On the block across from the building, Farmhaus Burger’s manager, Darby Carpenter, said he’s happy that the road running next to his restaurant at the corner of 12th and Broad streets will reopen in the coming weeks. The road closure hasn’t impaired business, he said, but it does eliminate extra parking for residents living above the restaurant.

Carpenter said he’s also looking forward to having a new development that will spur activity and foot traffic downtown.

“We’re excited there’s going to be a new apartment building downtown,” Carpenter said. “Anything that brings folks downtown is good for every business that is downtown.”

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countyman
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countyman 08/07/14 - 02:51 pm
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Excellent!!!!

The additional residents will only help bring more private growth downtown...

corgimom
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corgimom 08/07/14 - 03:07 pm
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Let's see, lose 6 apartments

Let's see, lose 6 apartments and gain 10, for a net gain of 4 apartments.

Yep, those 4 extra residents (ok, maybe 8 if they are couples) will definitely affect the CBD like no other.

And instead of a 15,000 square foot building, a 10,000 square foot building will be built instead.

Now, that's progress.

But if I worked or lived nearby, I would be nervous about asbestos being released. John Guanlao is worried about falling bricks; he would be better off worrying about mesothelioma.

And it sounds like Michael Osbon is still in the dream stage, I can only imagine that the owner of the neighboring alley is going to ask huge bucks for that alley. Countyman, I wouldn't count on this happening.

countyman
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countyman 08/07/14 - 04:39 pm
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Progress!!!

The building might be 5,000 less in terms of square footage, but the overall aesthetics on Broad will improve... The city of Augusta can definitely use some new construction to go alongside of the historic buildings..

The new apartments will start in the $900-$1,000 range... The alley is needed in order to justify the high rents.. I don't think the Osbon family will have any trouble finding huge bucks.

The new building represents one of many new residential developments... The main goal involves creating a big enough pool of workers/residents in order to attract the private sector..

Proud2Serve
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Proud2Serve 08/08/14 - 02:10 am
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Rent is ridiculous!

Who is paying $900 - $1000 a month for a one bedroom apartment?

My mortgage payment is only $367 a month. I am glad I am not trying to rent in Augusta right now. The market has lost its mind.

ColCo
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ColCo 08/08/14 - 05:20 am
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Osbon

What was the disposition of his bribery/drunk driving case? I understand he owns the old city jail. I wish the city would force whim to improve or demolish the building.

countyman
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countyman 08/08/14 - 12:47 pm
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Rent and hotel property

Proud2Serve.... The residents living in the Parc at Flowing Wells, Estates at Perimeter, Gateway Crossing, Brigham Woods, and other numerous apartments buildings....

corgimom
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corgimom 08/08/14 - 05:43 pm
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Countyman, first, the owner

Countyman, first, the owner has to sell it.

And if I were that owner, I'd ask MILLIONS for it.

That owner has all the advantage; Michael Osbon, none.

There's a cost/benefit point to that alley, and so your idea that Osbon will pay it, no matter what, isn't valid.

Right now I'm thinking he's too busy fighting his bribery charge to worry about alleys.

AutumnLeaves
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AutumnLeaves 08/08/14 - 05:58 pm
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For $1,000/mo I rented a

For $1,000/mo I rented a large home with a large master bedroom, 4 roomy bedrooms, beautiful hardwood floors, a full bath, and 2 half baths with showers, full kitchen/living room/nice outdoor shed/garage and a beautiful full front and back yard in a nice quiet subdivision behind a country club in Augusta. Got my deposit back when we left over two years later, too. Why in the world would anyone pay that much for an apartment in Augusta? Other than walking a few feet to work maybe?

Proud2Serve
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Proud2Serve 08/09/14 - 03:39 am
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Rental Market out of whack

You can rent a 1br apartment in Honolulu for $1,000 a month, but the cost of living is about 160% what it is in Augusta. There is no reason at all for a 1br to cost $1000 in Augusta. The salaries just don't support it.

I suspect there are a lot of younger military living there and blowing their entire BAH on rent.

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