Apartment building on Cleveland’s East Side still stands despite recent partial collapse

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 10:56 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - An empty historic apartment building on Cleveland’s east side has been crumbling for more than a year. A few weeks ago, it partially collapsed, so when residents reached out to 19 News, we brought their concerns to the city.

The only thing that’s changed in the past few weeks is that the city of Cleveland has officially condemned the building.

“We have been on a mission to try for years to just get this settled. We don’t want to live amongst decay and collapse,” said Sheba Marcus Bey, who lives in a building next door. “This is a historic district, and we deserve better.”

The historic building is on East Boulevard, and while it is empty, it sits dangerously close to two occupied buildings.

“We’re not literally a shout away, I would say about six feet from our building to the next building, and the challenge is how are they gonna tear it down safely and how are we gonna be able to be there and not get, you know, any fallout from the debris in there,” said Marcus Bey.

Cleveland City Councilman Kevin Conwell said the next step is to disconnect the utilities.

“They have to cut the wires, utilities CPP, you have to make sure that the water is not connected, and you really have to cut the gas lines,” explained Conwell.

But some residents are concerned that the process is moving too slowly.

“Well, you can’t just go and demolish the building; it’s a process,” Conwell said. “I mean, if you go in when they just talked with me to have the city come out the next day or the following week to demolish the building, and you don’t disconnect the gas lines, you could have a huge explosion.”

Conwell says he plans on checking with the building and planning department Tuesday to see when the emergency ordinance that will give the city the power to demolish the building will come through. Conwell assures me the building will be down in the next week or two.

“Cause the building has already warned us that it’s going to collapse, and it is gonna collapse, that’s the reality right there, and the probability is 100% it will collapse,” Conwell said.

There are still some concerns about whether the residents in the nearby buildings will have to evacuate; Conwell says that’s a possibility, especially with the likelihood that there is asbestos in the building.

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