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Lia hires contractor to demolish condemned King Steet building

NORTHAMPTON — The owner of a former Honda dealership on King Street has hired a contractor to demolish his condemned building, and it is expected to be taken down early next month.

Building Commissioner Louis Hasbrouck declared the long-vacant 171 King St. property a public safety hazard earlier this month and ordered owner Don Lia to tear it down. Lia’s decision to hire Truck Crane Service, of Westfield, to take the building down means the city will not have to use the $81,650 appropriated by the City Council last week as part of an emergency order.

“Unless something falls apart, the city won’t spend any money,” Hasbrouck said in an email.

Hasbrouck said abatement of materials in the building that contain small amounts of asbestos has started and the state Department of Environmental Protection has visited the site. Demolition will follow that work sometime either late next week or July 7.

Truck Crane Service is beginning to bring equipment to the site, and fencing is expected to go up later this week, Hasbrouck said.

He said National Grid has removed all wires and light poles, Columbia Gas will cut the gas line behind the building before demolition and Verizon will ensure that wires are not connected to the building.

Hasbrouck condemned the building in a June 6 order to Lia, who owns a chain of auto dealerships in New York and lives in Huntington, N.Y.

The building is on a 5.3-acre site at the intersection of King and Finn streets. Vacant for nine years, it has a rotted roof and several other hazards that pose a danger to unauthorized people who sneak into the building. It is also dangerous for emergency personnel who must respond to the site, Hasbrouck said.

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