Demolition deadline missed for fire-gutted building

EVERETT — The owner of a historic downtown building destroyed by fire last year missed a demolition deadline the city had set for Friday.

Pete Sikov said he’s still working with Everett building and planning officials to tear down what remains of the 1894-vintage McCrossen Building at Hewitt and Oakes avenues.

The city will work with Sikov to initiate the demolition, but also is starting its own parallel preparations, in case he fails to follow through, city spokeswoman Kate Reardon said. Whatever happens, demolition crews aren’t likely to descend on the site for at least a few more weeks.

“The deadline was missed, but we all understood that there was some complexity to the process,” Reardon said.

Before being gutted Nov. 8, the McCrossen Building housed 13 apartments and at least three businesses.

Fire investigators never determined the exact cause, but found nothing suspicious. Michael D. Beard, 61, died of smoke inhalation. About 40 people were displaced.

In December, a city hearing examiner ordered the sidewalk in front of the business cleared and imposed a March 15 deadline to demolish the building.

A covered walkway soon materialized, but the other requirement proved a trickier task. That’s largely because the ruined building shares a load-bearing wall with the building next door at 1812 Hewitt Ave.

By Friday, city inspectors had signed off on a temporary wall to keep the adjacent building intact during demolition, Reardon said. A permanent wall must be built afterward.

Before the demolition can move ahead, the building owner or the city must complete a state environmental checklist. That step will determine whether more study is necessary before seeking a demolition permit.

Sikov has yet to submit any formal paperwork with the city, but was in contact with building and planning officials, Reardon said.

Reached Friday, the owner confirmed he was working through the demolition regulations, but had no date for when the building might come down.

“I think things are coming along pretty well,” Sikov said.

He said he had not considered plans for redeveloping the site, which is across the street from Comcast Arena.

When the corner is rebuilt, Everett’s downtown zoning rules would allow shops, restaurants, office space or apartments. The code would prohibit using the land for a parking lot.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

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