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Blighted Main St. building razed

Downtown structure was failing

A fence blocks access to a crane perched atop and gradually consuming the pile of debris that used to be 374 Main St. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
November 17, 2009
SOUTHBRIDGE — For years, the building at 374 Main St. had been gradually deteriorating even while still occupied.

Then the shops on the ground floor, including an herbalist, left, and eventually the residents above moved out maybe two years ago. On Tuesday, to Building Inspector Nick Tortis' great relief — and even its owners' — it finally came down.

"It was very old and wasn't worth fixing, so we tore it down," said one of the owners, Peter Martin of Auburn. " That would have cost a lot of money — just to [upgrade it enough to] sell it would've cost $22,000."

Among other things, Martin said, the Board of Health told him it needed a new exit, wider and less-steep steps and significant foundation work (the wall was bowing toward the neighboring church).

Tortis essentially agreed with Martin's assessment of the situation, noting he had repeatedly pressured Martin to fix it or demolish it.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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