Demolition of fire-gutted Everett building begins

EVERETT — A demolition contractor got to work Monday tearing down what’s left of the historic McCrossen Building.

By morning, two excavators had begun picking apart the remnants of the 1894-vintage structure, destroyed in a November fire that also ended a man’s life.

Throughout the day, people stopped on the downtown sidewalks to take in the changing landscape at Hewitt and Oakes avenues.

“I think it’s about time,” said Matt Guinn, 24, who tends bar at Tailgator across the street. “It’s kind of an eyesore.”

Demolition is expected to last into next week.

The business where Guinn works, like most others nearby, relies on the crowds drawn to sports and other events at

Comcast Arena, across the

street from the demolition site. They’d like to see more parking built there to accommodate the throngs.

That isn’t an option under city code because Hewitt Avenue is considered a retail street, city

planning director Allan Giffen

said. Shops, restaurants, office space or apartments would be permissible. More parking could be added only behind a new building.

McCrossen owner Pete Sikov said earlier that he has not considered plans for redeveloping the site.

The original demolition deadline was March 15. After it passed, the city said it would grant Sikov more time to work through the process, even as it began preparations to do the demolition itself, if necessary.

The holdup owed, in part, to a load-bearing wall shared with the next-door building at 1812 Hewitt Ave. A temporary wall is now in place there.

The city began receiving required paperwork for the demolition last week and on Friday issued a permit to contractor Construction Group International, LLC of Woodinville.

“We’ll be here all week, up into a couple of days of next week,” said Mark Marcell, the company’s president.

There are plans to recycle bricks, concrete, metal and other McCrossen materials, Marcell said.

The Hewitt Avenue sidewalk in front of the building will remain closed for at least a few more days, but the plan is to open it for any Comcast events.

“We worked with Comcast Arena to make sure the demolition wouldn’t interfere with shows or schedules,” Everett building official Tony Lee said.

There are no plans for full street closures.

Separately from the city, the state Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has issued a permit related to environmental impacts that could result from removing the damaged structure.

Before being gutted by fire on 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.

A clothing shop a few doors down started helping the displaced tenants the night of the fire.

“These people lost every single thing,” said Klothing Vault owner Kristen Snow, 40. “Some of them ran out of there with no shoes.”

The shop had opened just two days earlier, with plans to sell new and used clothing. After the fire, they provided people displaced by the fire with socks, pants and other pieces of clothing.

Though the fire and its aftermath have cut down on foot traffic that helps the business, Snow said she’s happy she’s been able to help. Others, in turn, have helped her weather the misfortune.

“I didn’t have money, but I have an amazing network of friends who have been there for the past 25 years of my life,” Snow said. “I just want to help this community.”

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

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