While Des Moines firefighters are dealing with the burning warehouse on Scott Avenue, City Hall is dealing with another mess – who is going to pay to have it cleaned up?
“We hold the property owner responsible for the maintenance and in this case the clean up of the property.” says Deputy Building Official Cody Christiansen, “So it’s difficult in this case because as I said the complications associated with the ownership.”
And these are the complications.
According to Polk County records, the building is owned by Regency Capital Fund One LLC, a group of 14 mostly local investors.
The problem is, the fund went broke after the 2008 property crash and all of the buildings, except this one on Scott Avenue, were sold off.
Buyers weren’t interested in the Scott Avenue warehouse because of fears it contains hazardous materials like asbestos. With no money to pay for the clean up, city taxpayers will likely have to foot the bill, and hope someone eventually buys the property so the city can be paid back.
“I hope so.” says Steve Wandro, an attorney representing Regency Capital Fund One LLC, “I think given the interest that’s been expressed to me over the last five years I think the property will go. I think it will go for a good price. And it’s my hope that the city and the taxpayers will not take a hit.”
After the fire is out the City plans to fence off the area until the debris can be cleaned up.