Richmond Heights Deputy Mayor Matt Casey said after the council meeting on Tuesday, when officials OK’d a new Total Access Urgent Care, replacing Waldbart Florist and Jon Paul Designs, that it was “difficult to stop the re-development.”
He said residents talked about it being a historic building, but that wasn’t enough to save it.
“In my mind, it’s not on an historic register anywhere, but it is iconic, and believe me, I would love to see it preserved,” Casey said. “We can only operate within the rule book, and it’s difficult to hinder or stop a private transaction like that.”
Asked if the other older buildings in the blocks south of the corner could also be razed for re-development, Casey said those buildings also have no historic status or protection.
“We don’t have any historic preservation ordinance to that effect,” he said. “How do we classify what’s historic and what’s not? That’s subjective. Again, I’d say more iconic than historic.”
During the meeting, Casey asked Dr. Matt Bruckel, CEO of Total Access Urgent Care, if it could have been possible to save the facade of the old building.
Bruckel said the building is in “complete disrepair.” He said it’s not earthquake resistant and contains asbestos. He called it a fire hazard, though a city employee said on Thursday that the building had been inspected and if it didn’t meet fire codes it would be closed.
Bruckel also said, most importantly for his business, is that it’s built on different tiered foundations. “As a medical facility we would have to build ramps in the building, and at one inch per foot it would be prohibitively expensive to build our business on a slope like this.
“We’re not here to hip-check anyone,” Bruckel said. “We just want to open a business. Citizens of Richmond Heights asked us to come into this community. It’s a great corner for our business and I think you’ll be proud once we get up and running; once the original crisis, or transition, is over,” he said.