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Former Foit's Restaurant in Hamburg to be razed today

The former Foit's Restaurant in Hamburg is scheduled to be demolished today.

Hamburg Supervisor Steven Walters said the cost for asbestos abatement and demolition will be just over $100,000. Russo Development of Springville won the bid to take down the building.

The restaurant site on the Lake Erie side of Route 5, at 4178 Lake Shore Road, was best known in its Foit's incarnation, although it was later known as the Italian Fisherman before it closed several years ago.

"The building is not salvageable," said Walters. "I think that's been agreed upon for some time."

The demolition crew will be on site from about 7 a.m. today; the exact time the building will come down is uncertain, said a Russo employee.

The asbestos has already been removed.

The cost of the demolition is to be added to the property's tax bill, but the delinquent tax bill for the property already exceeds its value. The property is owned by C.K.M. Group, a Lancaster holding company, and has been tied up in liens and tax bills.

"I'm very skeptical the town is ever going to be made whole for this demolition," said Walters. "But certainly the building has become a health and safety hazard and needs to come down."

Neighboring restaurants and other businesses have complained about teens breaking into the building and vandalizing it. The town has spent several thousand dollars securing the building over the last several years.

"We're treating it as an emergency demolition," said Hamburg Building Inspector Kurt Allen. "It's an 'attractive nuisance.' "

The question doesn't seem to be whether the building should come down, but what should happen to the site afterward. The town has a $250,000 state grant toward turning the site into a park, although the projected price for the full project is about $850,000. The town has a total of about $300,000 in grants for the project.

Councilman Thomas Quatroche said earlier this year that the town hopes to pay for the entire project through grants and "in-kind services" -- work provided by town labor.

Walters has objected to those plans, saying the property should be kept on the tax roles. He questions the value of putting a park there.

"It's too close to the roadway," said Walters, the Town Board's lone Republican. "It would create unsafe conditions, and I don't think it would be used to the degree to justify the expenditures to the town."

Quatroche and Councilwoman Joan Kesner hhave had the votes of the 4-1 Democratic majority on the board to back them up on the issue.


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