SHREVEPORT, La. — Time may be up for the owner of the burned down Shreve Square building. On Sept. 23, the City of Shreveport issued a 30-days notice for the owner to demolish what was left and clean it up.
That was two days after the inferno downtown on Sept. 21 — or 32 days ago as of the publishing of this story.
The ruins still standing are a hazard. Bricks from a back wall of the burned building collapsed on Sunday and hit the building next door, The Sand Bar. Its owner, Tim Huck, is asking the city to get moving on demolition since the owner has not.
“At some point there’s a safety issue. There’s an issue for safety of my building and other buildings around it at the same time,” Huck told the City Council on Monday.
City Councilwoman LeVette Fuller agrees that demolition needs to happen in the interest of safety.
“We can do an emergency demolition because it is not structurally sound. Meaning, that we can come in, clean up the debris, and then send a bill to the owner,” Fuller says.
She explained that if the owner does not pay that bill, the city could issue a lien. If the owner doesn’t pay to remove the lien, that would mean taxes went unpaid. And ownership would then go back to the city.
The owner, Judge Marcus Hunter of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal, bought the rundown property from the city in a tax sale in 2019. But he never redeveloped it, blaming that in part on the pandemic. He did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
City of Shreveport Communications Director Marquel Sennet tells KTBS that it’s not confirmed whether Hunter received the demolition notice.
Huck told the council there’s another reason to clean up the property.
“It looks really bad when you pull into downtown Shreveport and that’s the first thing when you come over the Texas Street Bridge. We spent a lot of money as a city, and some other donations to make that bridge look really good. And then you come over and you see this burnt building,” Huck said.
He was referring to the Bakowski Bridge of Lights, made possible with a million dollar donation from Dr. George and Sandra Bakowski, matching public funding. It made possible state-of-the-art programmable LED lighting that was switched on last February.