Demolition Begins on Partially Collapsed Downtown North Judson Building

The demolition of a Downtown North Judson building has finally begun. Crews began tearing down the structure at 205 and 207 Lane Street Monday morning, according to North Judson Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins.

The town council made the final preparations during a special session Friday, approving a couple contracts related to asbestos handling. Amereco Engineering of Valparaiso was chosen to take care of project design and air monitoring, while Safe Environmental Corporation of Highland will actually remove the asbestos. Collins says the total cost of the asbestos work will depend on various factors, such as how long the project takes.

The demolition work itself will cost the town nearly $100,000. A contract with Dirt Works Excavating had previously been approved by the town council.

It’s taken several months for the project to get to this point. The town first solicited demolition bids back in February. But the council ended up rejecting all of them, after building owner Doug Cassel began an unsuccessful but lengthy legal battle to retrieve his personal property from inside, including a 1978 Cadillac Eldorado.

The town again attempted to hire a demolition contractor in June. However, the town only got one quote, and it was for over $250,000. In the meantime, part of the structure collapsed in on itself and asbestos was found in the property, which further complicated matters.