Erie's EMI demo moves ahead and street closure continues
The former campus of Erie Malleable Iron Co. seems to get larger by the day as beams come down and walls are reduced to rubble and hauled away.
That's how Tina Mengine, CEO of the Erie County Redevelopment Authority, sees it.
"It looks fantastic," Mengine said. "The site looks bigger to me."
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As walls have tumbled, bowing to the power of giant excavators, interior office hallways have been revealed, with lockers standing amid crumbling concrete.
Crews from the West Virgina Reclaim Company LLC have been in Erie since October and began full-scale demolition in December at the 5-acre former industrial site at the corner of West 12th and Cherry streets.
Once the demolition is complete, the Authority plans to renovate some of the remaining buildings and build several new ones as part of a plan for a modern business and manufacturing park. The Authority paid $375,000 to purchase the property in February 2021. The plan for the site is expected to cost millions, some of which already has been allocated from state and federal funds.
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Mengine said the demolition remains on track to be completed by the end of June. Renovations to the office building at the northeastern corner of the property could begin before the demolition work is complete.
David Brennan, an architect with Bostwick Design Partnership, talked in September about striking a balance between renovation and new construction.
"The object is to restore as much as possible, retain the history," Brennan said. "It's a lot more cost-effective to save this."
Mengine said steel beams from the building are being salvaged along with some of the bricks. While some of the rubble is being hauled to landfills, much of the concrete will be crushed and used as fill on the site.
As of Friday, 59 trucks full of garbage and debris, of 70 cubic yards each, had been hauled from the site, Mengine said.
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The demolition project, which has temporarily closed one of the two eastbound lanes on West 12th Street, has produced plenty of public comment.
"People are fascinated by it," Mengine said. "I'm fascinated by it. It's such a massive building and it's built like a fortress."
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