Demolition of fire damaged downtown Augusta building to start Monday

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

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.”

Owner unveils plan to replace fire-damaged building on Broad Street
Officials, owner weigh options on fire-damaged building
Investigator: Arson only a possible cause of downtown fire
Arson likely cause of Broad Street fire on Jan. 3, report says
Broad Street fire damages 6 apartments, dental business

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