MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The City of Montgomery has ordered repairs for a beloved stretch of Old Cloverdale retail space.
Ask any Midtown Montgomery resident what development they want to see in their neighborhood and quickly the mostly shuttered property on East Fairview Avenue across from the Capri Theatre comes to mind.
Property owner and developer Mike Watson owns that popular row of storefronts in Old Cloverdale. In 2013 he announced the development of a new Scottish whiskey bar which never materialized after license complications. In 2018 Watson rolled out a new plan, which included a second location for the local Italian restaurant SaZa, a rooftop bar and a beer garden.
Residents eager for new life in this area monitored the progress. As the years wore on, the building started to show its age.
Thursday, the City of Montgomery posted notices along most of the vacant storefronts ordering repairs.
“We received some complaints in regards to the building being unsecured and having issues regarding the roof,” stated Chief Property Maintenance Inspector Brandon Hodge. “We made an inspection of the property and noted that the complaints were valid. Obviously you can see the door is open.”
The notice gives Watson 60 days to make the repairs, which Hodge considers a reasonable timeline.
“If a property owner makes an effort, they start making repairs and something comes up we will absolutely work with anybody that’s making the effort on their part,” Hodge explained.
Non-compliance could warrant legal action, and the city could seek a court order to make the repairs. Other avenues involve the city making the repairs and placing a lien on the property to recoup the costs.
“Hopefully they will call,” said Hodge. “We are shooting for compliance at all times.”
WSFA's numerous attempts to reach Watson about this notice were unsuccessful.
We contacted Jeff Thorpe with SaZa, who'd signed on to open a new restaurant on this property. Thorpe confirmed he's no longer pursuing this specific venture.
District 7 city councilman Clay McInnis says he’s actively monitoring this situation.
“Since being elected in August, I have received countless messages from concerned residents and business owners,” McInnis stated. “This property lies in the heart of District 7 and must be preserved to continue building our community.”
The repairs must be made by early April.