(09/24/12) - A project to create an open space in the heart of Saginaw hit a bit of a snag.
One hotel has been knocked down, but the demolition of another building right across the street of the Dow Event Center is on hold.
Something inside the Saginaw Centre caught county officials by surprise.
"Like a lot of projects, things happen," said Matt Blasy, Dow Event Center general manager.
The project to open up downtown Saginaw across from the Dow Event Center was in three phases: Knock down the troubled Saginaw Plaza Hotel - that's been done, improvements to the nearby parking ramp - some have been done and others are going on right now, and then there was the demolition of the downtown Saginaw Centre. But that demolition has been delayed until at least November, because of an environmental issue.
"Significant amount of asbestos in there, so that's prolonged the process of tearing it down. It wasn't able to be torn down as quickly as the hotel was," Blasy said.
The Saginaw County Land Bank Authority teamed up with the Great Lakes Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau earlier this year to buy the hotel and the Saginaw Centre, and records on the properties indicated there was no asbestos in either building. But when environmental firm AKT Peerless inspected the Saginaw Centre, it found the beams were coated with a fire retardant that contained asbestos, and the process of removing it will take at least two months. The removal is also costly, about $800,000, which means the three-phase project to improve parking and lighting in the area is being scaled back a bit.
"With more dollars going to the Saginaw Centre, we've had to pull back on some ramp improvements," Blasy said.
Blasy says the plan was to have a lot of the work done by the start of the Saginaw Spirit home season, but the delay will not cause any parking problems for Spirit fans.
"Long term, big picture, all extremely positive for downtown Saginaw," he said.
The Saginaw Spirit home opener is Thursday night.
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