SAGINAW (WJRT) -
(05/01/14) - A tricky demolition project is underway in downtown Saginaw.
Last year, the city announced a plan to knock down five buildings at the corner of Genesee and Washington, but a developer said some of them can be saved - that's what makes the demolition process interesting.
"It's not one where you come right in with the excavator and knock it down," said project manager Ryan Londrigan, of AKT Peerless.
Instead, Bierlein Companies demolition team is doing some of the work by hand.
"They are going brick by brick," said Kattar Baz, of Baz Groceries.
It's part of an effort to save some of the buildings that sit in the heart of downtown Saginaw, across the street from the Bancroft and Eddy Luxury Apartments.
When television executive and Saginaw native David Strouse heard five buildings on this block were coming down, he developed an alternate plan to restore some and turn them into apartments and retail space. For the plan to work, the building next to the two being taken down has been reinforced to help it withstand the process. Work crews are being very careful.
"Right now, they are cutting the floor joists out, one at a time, and they cut them off in pieces and wiggle them out, like a loose tooth," Londrigan said. "As we open those walls up, we weren't sure what we are going to find, because no one has seen in there in quite a long time."
Baz' family has owned Baz Groceries since 1981. His building sits right in the middle of the restoration project. He hopes the delicate demolition goes smoothly and Strouse's project succeeds.
Anything that brings more people to downtown, I am for it," he said. "I am all for preservation of the old buildings, I feel like if you take away the old structures from the downtown, it no longer becomes a downtown."