MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The City of Montgomery has served a new notice to the owner of a deteriorating building in Old Cloverdale that allows for it to soon begin action against the structure.
Property owner and developer Mike Watson owns what was once a popular row of storefronts on East Fairview Avenue. He announced plans for a whiskey bar in 2013 that never materialized after license complications.
Five years passed before he rolled out a new plan that included a second location for a local Italian restaurant, rooftop bar and a beer garden. Despite the plans, the building has sat empty and is starting to show serious signs of decline.
Brandon Hodge, a Montgomery code enforcement inspector, said the city served a notice previously that indicated repairs needed to be made. Months passed and Hodge says a new noticed was served this week that, under state law, allows for the city to begin action on the structure and to spend funds on the property with city council’s approval.
Hodge said there has been a high volume of calls from people in the Cloverdale community complaining about the eyesore, more so than any other property he has experienced.
He said the latest notice came because the building continues to deteriorate. The roof has collapsed more and the structure’s back wall has started to crumble.
Hodge says the property owner has lined up a contractor, applied for a permit, and has submitted plans to do work that involves barricading off the area to demolish the roof.
The inspector says he doesn’t believe the property is a lost cause and says he thinks it could be repaired. He also believes Watson has intentions to repair the structure.
But he says the best case scenario would be if Watson takes care of everything so the city doesn’t have to intervene. Hodge said the city would like to see more urgency and the most recent notice was due to inaction on the owner’s part.
Since the notice involves private property, it’s not a simple process to take action. While the building isn’t an imminent threat for complete collapse, the city will still have to wait 45 days before it can take any action.