Demolition of Hamilton West shopping center buildings

The long-deteriorating buildings at the Hamilton West shopping center were demolished this week, with demolition stopping at the Golden Dragon Buffet & Grill building, which will remain in operation.

The demolition of old commercial buildings along Brookwood Avenue came years after city officials had hoped. But it also leaves no room for the close development of new businesses they also hoped for when Hamilton officials had a heated public discussion in 2018 about how the 27.3-acre property should be used.

At that time, former City Councilman Rob Wile, who had already left office and owned commercial property across Brookwood Avenue from the center, questioned the wisdom of allowing landlords to the property to build a mini storage unit complex as phase 1 so they said. would be a five-phase project.

Wile said such use should be permitted as a later development phase for such an important property, and said he feared the site, marked by deep potholes, would remain a largely eyesore. abandoned. Its buildings that had experienced burglaries and collapsed roofs.

Later phases of the project were to include Phase 2, clearing buildings with collapsed roofs; Phase 3, two commercial buildings proposed with retail on the ground floor, offices on the second; and potentially condominiums on the third level; Phase 4, an approximately 4,100 square foot, 1.2 acre drive-thru restaurant; and Phase 5: A full-service car wash on 0.7 acres.

City Manager Joshua Smith told Wile at a meeting in August 2018, “I really believe, in my heart, that if we clean this up, get the parking lot back, get the driveways back in good shape, put some solid, nice buildings, that this property will move incredibly quickly.”

Planning director Liz Hayden said this week that no immediate development appears to be in the future.

“I don’t have anything exciting to tell you, honestly,” she said.

Instead, “one of the requirements we had before the storage facility opened was that they had to complete the demolition of the rest of the property,” Hayden said. “So they’re demolishing it in preparation and hoping to move on to occupying the storage facility.”

“But we haven’t heard anything specific about development plans, where demolition would make way for something new,” she said.

On the other hand, there’s a former Pizza Hut nearby that isn’t owned by the same people as the center of Hamilton West, and city officials are hoping there will be an announcement about that building. a year from now.

Meanwhile, the Hamilton West Barber Shop, an institution on the city’s West Side for more than 50 years at the time, moved in 2019 from the mall to a nearby former car wash building at 186 N. Brookwood Ave.

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