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July 29, 2010 10:11 PM

Hotel Neighbors Hope Demolition Happens Soon

Sioux Falls, SD


It was supposed to be gone by now, but demolition day for the Oaks Hotel in Sioux Falls has come and gone.
 
Its doors were closed for good back in November 2008. Since then, the building has been broken into, vandalized and been used by the homeless for a place to stay.

A month ago, Mayor Mike Huether and the owner of the hotel announced that demolition was going to start July 15, but asbestos in the building needs to be removed before demolition can begin.

It's just one of a list of problems at the Oaks. The owner has been fined by the city five times since it closed, but none of those have been paid. 

The owner of the Oaks said last month that he plans to replace the old building with a new hotel, convention center, and water-park.

Even though demolition of the vacant hotel didn't happen this month, nearby business owners are hopeful it will happen soon. 

"Even nothing there, even if it was just bulldozed down would be better than what it is right now," Michael Hillman, the manager of the Rollin' Pin Restaurant said.

The vacant hotel is boarded up and vandalized. The city says a contractor is working to salvage some of the furniture inside.

And even though it may be an eye-sore, businesses in the area are at least glad to hear there's a plan to get rid of it and build a new hotel complex.

"We just had the interstate re-done, there's a lot of businesses that have moved into the area and that would be just another addition to the long list of things that have already been done," Hillman said.

The Rollin' Pin Restaurant sits across the street from the Oaks, Hillman says even though the demolition date has come and gone he's still confident something will happen there.

"Progress takes time. I fully think that they will be doing something with it and they will be tearing it down sometime in the near future, the sooner obviously the better," Hillman said.

Because the faster this building can be torn down the better it will be for businesses in the area.

"Anything other than a vacant building would be a benefit," Hillman said.

The city says the owner is working on getting someone to remove the asbestos before demolition can start.
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