Questions remain in Savoy demolition

September 23, 2009 6:17:08 AM PDT
We're just three days away from the emergency demolition of a building that's been falling apart in downtown Houston. At this point, the city hasn't even decided which company will be in charge of bringing it down. We first told you last week that city officials have serious concerns about the stability of the old Savoy Hotel, and a decision has been made to knock it down as soon as possible.

The main problem is that there are so few answers because the city's deadline for the contractors is Wednesday at 10am. Until a contractor is decided, we won't know the exact method by which the building will be brought down. Some who live nearby are worried about the possible effects.

Stephen Sachnik has watched what's left of the Savoy Hotel deteriorate right before his eyes.

"You can see the building. There's a crack on the side and it's been falling down for years," said Sachnik.

As one of the condo owners in the historic Beaconfield Building right next door, he's glad the city is finally taking the Savoy down, but he worries about potential unintended damage.

"We really don't know what the demolition is going to be. If it falls down at once it may damage us," said Sachnik.

Because the building is deemed unsafe on the inside, it will not be imploded. But exactly how it's going to be demolished, no one knows.

We asked one potential contractor how you bring down a building like the old Savoy.

"Slowly, very slowly, start eating away at it," said Jason Hollen.

He, like all the potential contractors contacted by Eyewitness News, will not talk about the specifics of their demolition method because the contract hasn't been awarded. City officials say they will make a decision Wednesday and despite the compressed timeline, they maintain it will be safe.

"We're taking every precaution to protect the public safety, and there are provisions in city ordinances to take action when it's an immediate threat to public safety," said Montecella Flaniken, Assistant Director of Neighborhood Protection.

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