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City officials: Court Street building cleared of facade problems

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City officials have determined they do not have to worry any further about the small pieces of the facade that fell off a Court Street building and landed on the sidewalk below.

On Tuesday morning, they examined the vacant Berow & Monroe building on Court Street and found no major problems with the structure’s exterior condition. As a safety precaution, city Department of Public Works crews removed the remaining loose pieces Tuesday, Code Enforcement Supervisor Shawn R. McWayne said.

DPW workers, who alerted Mr. McWayne’s office about the situation the day before, were to reopen the sidewalk by the end of the day Tuesday.

He acknowledged the building “needs a lot of work, but there’s no structural problems.”

The city-owned building, at 138-140 Court St., was in the news as recently as last week when the City Council introduced a resolution to sell it for $20,000 to Alex Rahmi, the West Virginia businessman who failed to pay back taxes on the property in June. The council delayed taking action on the resolution last week because it did not have the needed four members it would take to sell the building to Mr. Rahmi.

On Feb. 6, council members informally agreed to give Mr. Rahmi a chance to buy his property back because he was the only potential developer who submitted a proposal for the deteriorating three-story building. But they also stipulated that he had to provide information about his experience in completing similar economic development projects. So far, Mr. Rahmi has failed to submit that information, said Kenneth A. Mix, the city planning and community development coordinator.

In November, the Planning Department requested proposals, but Mr. Rahmi was the only developer who submitted one by the deadline. His plans call for retail space on the ground floor and apartments above.

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