WESTFIELD – The Portage Inn is coming down.
Originally a paper warehouse that was remodeled into a hotel and restaurant in 1908, the three-story brick structure in the heart of the village at 18-28 N. Portage St. had been vacant since bar and restaurant operations there closed in 1999.
Chautauqua County took it for unpaid back taxes and sold it in 2000 to a developer. It was resold two more times since then. Despite rumors that it would reopen, it remained dark and became dilapidated.
Now, the Chautauqua County Land Bank Corp., with a grant from the state Attorney General’s Office, is working with the Village of Westfield, state Department of Transportation, Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency and Empire Diagnostics to demolish the building, which got underway Thursday. The village plans to use the site to improve access to Chautauqua Creek and a park behind the structure.
The second phase of the project, expected in January, will remove the building debris to a landfill.