Work starting Saturday on I-81 building hazard

Saturday update:

The work is starting, aimed at demolishing a building that is a hazard to Route 81 traffic.Contractors are prepping the North State Street site by building a fence and barricade, and asbestos abatement will be the next step.The work will require yet another detour: North State Street between Butternut and Catawba will be closed during the demolition--once the timetable is set, detour routes will be announced.Building owner Anthony Tataro was on site Saturday morning, expressing concerns about the procedings.


The New York State Department of Transportation has chosen a contractor for the demolition project. Utica based Ritter & Paratore was the lowest bidder, at $467,000. The company will construct a fence around the building Saturday morning, and work throughout the coming days to ensure the building is down before the start of the NCAA games in Syracuse on March 25th.

The highest bid was listed at $789,000. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner also announced the city will contribute no more than $100,000 of taxpayer money to the demolition, as well as an additional $50,000 to related expenses. The city also plans to pursue partial to full reimbursement from the building's owner in court.

Posted earlier:

A deal to demolish the crumbling building on North State Street alongside Interstate 81 has been announced by Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner.

Miner and Dan Young, a representative from Governor David Paterson's office, made the announcement at City Hall Friday evening. Miner says that the city will pay up to $100,000 in costs for the demolition, and another $50,000 on other unspecified costs.

Miner says that officials will work out a schedule this weekend to reopen I-81, and that the road will be open before the NCAA Tournament comes to town in two weeks.

In order to clear the way for demolition, the state has served notice that it will take possession of the crumbling building on the 900 block of North State Street for four months under eminent domain. A partial collapse of the building forced the shutdown of a one-mile section of Interstate 81. The shutdown has forced the detour of some 50,000 vehicles a day through the city of Syracuse.

Joanne Van Dyke, the attorney for building owner Anthony Tartaro, says the State Department of Transportation has informed her that it has offered to pay $7,000 "rent" on the building for those four months. Van Dyke says if Tartaro does not accept the terms of the rent or the temporary possession, the state will take over anyway and place the rental money in an escrow account with the state comptroller.

The state has informed Van Dyke that they will put up a fence around the building on Saturday, and will take physical possession of the property. At that point anyone who enteres the property could be charged with tresspassing, incluuding Tartaro.

Van Dyke said "They can do whatever they want with no negotiation."

Tartaro has already removed his motorcycle repair business from the building.

State officials expect to choose a demolition company early next week to tear down the building. Bidding for the state's demolition contract ends at noon Friday, with a company expected to be chosen by Monday.

State transportation officials shut down I-81's northbound lanes two weeks ago, February 26, after part of the 122-year-old building adjacent to the highway collapsed. The state and city have been wrangling over who will pay for the demolition, which Syracuse officials say could cost as much as $2 million.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says she is waiting to find out how much money the city will have to pay, but is working with the state on funding. She added that she would not commit to any cost sharing agreement with the state until she knows the "bottom line."

"We're very hopeful. We've had a lot of good discussions with the state. The people of this city and community are going to see a lot of progress on this building. It will be open soon. 81 will be open soon enough," said Miner Friday morning.

Traffic detours are still in place around the I-81 closure, and are as follows:

I-81 Northbound from south of Syracuse: Exit 16A (I-481) to Exit 9 (Interstate 81)

I-81 Northbound just south of the 81/690 interchange:

I-81 north to I-690 West to Exit 10 (North Geddes Street), right turn onto North Geddes Street, left turn onto Spencer Street, right turn onto Hiawatha Blvd, left turn onto I-81 ramp.

I-690 Westbound to I-81 Northbound: Continue on I-690 West to Exit 10 (North Geddes Street), right turn onto North Geddes Street, left turn onto Spencer Street, right turn onto Hiawatha Blvd, left turn onto I-81 ramp.

I-81 Ramp Closure Information:

The Harrison Street on-ramp to I-81 North will have its left lane closed, and both the Pearl Street and the Butternut Street on-ramps to I-81 Northbound will be closed.

Click here for more coverage of the Interstate 81 closure.

Information from the Associated Press and the NYSDOT was used in this report.