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Owner Now Looking to Sell Downtown Building, Not Demolish It

Brent Warren Brent Warren Owner Now Looking to Sell Downtown Building, Not Demolish ItPhoto by Walker Evans.
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Plans to demolish a three-story brick building at 330 Oak Street appear to be off the table, as the owner of the property now is actively looking to sell the former pharmaceutical manufacturing facility. Boehringer Ingelheim Roxane, Inc.(BIRI), an affiliate of Roxane Laboratories, submitted an application to the Downtown Commission last month to demolish the building.

A letter submitted by BIRI to the commission explaining the request to demolish cited the risk of contaminants from the building’s use — a wide variety of drugs were manufactured there over the course of it’s 100-year history.

The commission unanimously rejected the application, citing the lack of a plan for the site post-demolition and the potential for the unassuming building to be cleaned up and adapted for a new use.

Keri Butler, a spokesperson for BIRI, said that company listened to the concerns of the commission and the citizens who spoke at the meeting against demolition.

“We are willing to sell the 330 East Oak Street building and are currently seeking potential buyers,” she said. “We will assist any potential purchaser with documentation on their proposed disposition of the site and with presentation to the Downtown Commission.”

Nancy Recchie, Historic Preservation Specialist with the Benjamin D. Rickey & Co., is convinced that the building can be remediated and turned into something special.

“We have worked as consultants on many former industrial buildings that have been adapted successfully for housing, offices and retail,” she said. “It would be a shame to lose another Downtown building, especially when there is so much demand for buildings to reuse… that building could have a character similar to The Julian if the windows were reopened.”

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