Now, there’s even more rubble.
Without warning, the owner of the property at Lincoln and Grand Avenues took down a building next to the already-collapsed Center Block building on Sunday.
The west wall of the Center Block collapsed in a rainstorm on Aug. 3, 2006, with then-owner Jerry Williams hiring a contractor to knock down the rest of the building that same night out of fear that the rest would fall down.
Las Vegas resident Bob Dalton confirmed Tuesday that he had the building next door on Lincoln demolished Sunday. Dalton, who had been the mortgage holder for both buildings, said he took ownership from Williams in the last couple of weeks.
He said he didn’t get a permit for the demolition, and he said he purposely didn’t tell anyone beforehand, fearing that a crowd would make the demolition detrimental to public safety.
“As far as I know, we’re operating under the permit that they started with a year ago,” he said, referring to Williams’ emergency demolition “We acted completely legally in all aspects.”
Some feared that the building next to the Center Block appeared as if it were going to collapse, but others argued that the structure could be stabilized.
Dalton said he is now selling bricks from the buildings for 25 cents — for the good ones at least. He said the bricks are easier to salvage at the site rather than move them somewhere else.
“I’m very sorry to lose the building. I didn’t see any way I could save it,” he said.
City Manager John Avila said the city didn’t receive any notice that Dalton planned to demolish the building on Sunday. He said he hoped Dalton went through the state Construction Industries Division for a permit, saying the city was trying to confirm what approvals Dalton needed and received.
Avila said the city wants a fence around the rubble and the debris removed.
An official from the Construction Industries Division covering this area didn’t return a message left on Tuesday.
In the summer, Dalton and Williams filed an appeal to state District Court after the City Council approved a resolution ordering them to clean up the property. Neighbors have complained about the pile of debris from the Center Block, and officials have contended the mess is an eyesore at the gateway of Las Vegas’ historic downtown areas.
The owners claimed in their appeal that the city didn’t provide them proper notice for the vacant lots owned by them next to the Center Block, noting that they were included in the cleanup resolution.
The matter remains in litigation, as the Center Block rubble has sat untouched for 16 months.
Cindy Collins, executive director of MainStreet Las Vegas, a downtown revitalization organization, said she feared that Dalton’s actions may lead others to believe they can ignore city rules.
“I’m tired of Bob Dalton thumbing his nose at the city,” she said. “I would like to see the wonderful ordinances that the city has in place be enforced.”
She said she hopes no other historic buildings “bite the dust.”
The Center Block, built around the turn of the last century, once housed the Sportsman’s Bar, the Pioneer Bar and the Red Ball Cafe.