Italian Village Church Building to be Saved Following Fire
The structure at 285 East Fourth Avenue in Italian Village will be able to be saved, following a fire that broke out there on Saturday night. Owner and developer Joe Armeni said that after meeting with structural engineers and architects this morning, the building has been determined to still be in salvageable condition.
“The fire department took a defensive position because it was vacant, and they let the fire burn for two hours, but the good news is that we’ll still be able to save the building,” he said. “We’ve already been issued the emergency repair orders, so we’re waiting on the structural plan to be able to get to work.”
Armeni said that reports indicate that the fire was caused by arson, noting that plywood had been pulled off the rear door of the building, and that the fire was contained to a small area in the back and to the roof. He said that they may be able to use footage from security cameras on nearby properties to identify the suspect.
The building had only been used for construction storage for Armeni’s company over the past fifteen years, though plans were announced last year to convert the building into eight condo units, with additional units to be built on the lot surrounding the building. Armeni said that the building was no longer insured due to it being deemed high-risk by his insurance company.
“We’ll be paying for the repairs out of pocket, but nothing has changed with our plans moving forward,” he said. “We love this building, and we’ve spent a ton money just to get to this point with planning and rezoning. After getting our final approvals in November, we’ll be well on our way.”
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