KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A northeast Kansas City hotel abandoned by its owner nearly two years ago is set for implosion.
The former Ramada Inn located in an industrial park on Universal Avenue near I-435 just north of Front Street is scheduled to come down at 8 a.m. June 24.
The 41 Action News Investigators first reported about consistent problems with looters and vagrants at the hotel last August.
A man was also found dead there after falling down an elevator shaft.
At that time, the city had already identified money to tear down the buildings at taxpayer expense .
The estimated cost was $1.5 million.
The good news for taxpayers is the actual cost of the bid by Kansas City firm Industrial Salvage & Wrecking is $762,000 or just over half the original estimate.
The bid also includes payments to local minority and women-owned businesses as subcontractors on the job.
Preparation for the implosion has been going on for about a month.
Part of that work includes drilling roughly 2,500 holes in the walls of the buildings.
Those holes will be filled with dynamite to bring the two towers down.
"We've taken a lot of interior walls out just to make the building a little weaker. You don't have to use so many explosives that way. We'll still have to drill quite a few more holes at the scene, a little bit of cutting on stairways. We make a dangerous building more dangerous, but we get it on the ground," said Alan Fletcher of Industrial Salvage & Wrecking.
Roughly 30 local businesses have been informed of the demolition.
They've been told to cut their air intakes prior to the implosion so dust won't get into the interiors of their buildings.
According to the city, I-435 and Universal Avenue in the industrial park will be closed for about an hour before, during and after the demolition.
Once the buildings come down, it will take about another two to three weeks to haul away all the debris.
The city does plan to go after the former hotel owner Andrew Marin to recover the cost of the implosion and a roughly $150,000 unpaid utility bill.
But as the 41 Action News Investigators reported last August , Marin was apparently in Brazil at that time.
Industrial Salvage owner Chuck Cacioppo said he's had to hire security to watch the buildings, even though they're fenced off.
Cacioppo said there continues to be a persistent problem with trespassers even though nothing of value is left at the site.
He said the hotel pool where the 41 Action News Investigators found a pickup truck, was filled in some time ago.
News of the building’s demolition was met with approval on Thursday from people who work nearby.
“I have fond memories of the hotel,” explained Fred Lepper. “But it doesn’t look good.”
Lepper works for a nearby steel distribution company only a short walk from the hotel.
He told 41 Action News that he and co-workers would sometimes head over to the building after their shift and have drinks at the hotel bar.
“I’ve been in the rooms. We stayed there sometimes,” he explained. “If it snowed real bad a bunch of us would go over there and spend the night.”
However, after the building fell into disrepair, Lepper said the site changed dramatically.
“You didn’t see people going in there. They didn’t have anybody staying,” he explained. “All the windows are broken out. The beds have been tossed out on the ground. It doesn’t look nice. It doesn’t make our area look too nice.”
With the building now set to be demolished, Lepper said he would be glad to see the old hotel go.