Collapsed Building on Tower Avenue to Be Demolished; One Lane of Road to Be Blocked Off for 30 to 60 Days


Since the collapse of the large former Safeway building located at 534 North Tower Ave. in Centralia on Tuesday, Feb. 16, the building’s owners, Chris and Shayna Hardesty, have submitted a permit for demolition. The roof collapsed after the Twin Cities experienced more than a foot of snowfall in some places. 

The Hardestys submitted a demolition permit with the city of Centralia on Feb. 23. They need to update their asbestos report before moving forward with the demolition. The city recently granted a partial permit to start demolition of only the roof, Centralia Community Development Director Emil Pierson said on Monday.

“It is up to the property owner to start removing the debris from the roof collapse,” Pierson said.

The building owners are working with a contractor to get estimates to go forward with the demolition, Pierson said.

The owners will be removing the entire building, Pierson said, except for the south wall, which adjoins the adjacent businesses. 

He said that soon after the collapse the city went out to the building to inspect the site and work with Chris and Shayna Hardesty to create a plan for cleanup.

The building, purchased by the current owners in 2019, was built in 1955 and was described as being in “very poor” condition by Lewis County Parcels system before the collapse. The one-story building is about 18,000 square feet.

Chris Hardesty said that the wooden posts were added to the building in the early 2000s to hold the deteriorating roof up. 

The sidewalk in front of the collapsed building and one of the two lanes of North Tower Avenue was blocked off by the city on Friday, Feb. 19 after concerns from the building inspector. 

Centralia Public Works Director Kim Ashmore said the city had initially blocked off the sidewalk, but concerns grew over the building possibly falling out into the road. 

The wall of the building facing the street is 20 feet tall, Ashmore said, and if it were to fall, it could land in traffic. 

Ashmore worked with WSDOT to shut the east lane down. He estimated that the lane will be blocked off for 30 to 60 days from the initial closure.