BLOOMINGTON - Previously undetected asbestos in the walls of the Coachman Motel will delay its demolition and it could cost the city more in fees.
How the city and demolition contractor Kirk's C & D Recycling will remove the asbestos is far from determined, said Planning and Code Enforcement Director Mark Huber.
"We know we have a problem but we haven't determined how we are going to solve it," Huber said. "It is premature to say it will come down in a month. We don't know yet."
The Coachman opened in 1961 and was built primarily from concrete blocks. Vermiculite, a mineral-based material, was poured into blocks between the rooms for soundproofing.
"And it being the 1960s, asbestos was added to the vermiculite," Huber said.
The asbestos in the vermiculite was discovered while contractors were working to remove other asbestos from the building. It was not detected in the original asbestos inspection, Huber added.
The current work is part of an abatement plan approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. Whether the vermiculite will have to be part of a new abatement plan and how long it will take to get a plan approved is uncertain, Huber said.
Tom Kirk from the demolition company said they are continuing with the original plan and waiting to hear what to do next.
Kirk and Huber agreed the cost likely will go up because it is in addition to the scope of work originally issued for the bid. Kirk's was the lowest bidder out of three contractors with a bid of $187,000.
Demolition approved by city in January
The Bloomington City Council approved the demolition bid in January after years of struggling with a previous owner to get the building improved. The city is paying for the demolition and then putting a lien on the building so when the property is sold, the city gets its money back.
One plan of action that could be considered is having the building declared contaminated and have it all disposed of at a landfill, Huber said. The original bid called for the contractor to recycle as much material as possible from the site, in an effort to reduce the landfill costs.
Meanwhile, local developer Ward Waller said the recent filing a lawsuit over the Ensenberger building project will not keep him from continuing with his plans to purchase the Coachman. Waller is the developer in charge of turning the former downtown furniture store into condominiums. The building's owners, Merle and Carol Huff filed a lawsuit in McLean County Circuit Court earlier this month seeking to remove Waller from the project.