PIQUA — The building at 117 E. Water Street next to Lock 9 Park was demolished Monday afternoon. The demolition was part of the Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment Project.
“The roof had caved in at one point so there was some water damage,” Justin Sommer, assistant city manager, said. Its prior use as a laundry facility also presented some environmental issues. Those were addressed before demolition, Sommer said.
“The likelihood of it being redeveloped was not good,” Sommer said. “It was recommended for demolition.”
As part of the Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment Project, the city is looking to extend Lock 9 Park to the corner of Water and Main streets. The city has recently sent out a request for proposal (RFP) for the design, redevelopment, and extension of Lock 9 Park, Sommer said.
“We’ll be starting that project soon to really make Lock 9 a signature park for the city,” Sommer said.
An Ohio Historic Inventory completed on the building at 117-119 E. Water St. in 1978 stated the significance of this building as being “the last example of this type of commercial architecture left in Piqua in an area where it once prevailed; and has retained its original features.” The document labeled the architectural design as “Second Empire (commercial),” which was popular between 1865 and 1880.
The inventory also explained that “[two] larger more elaborate Second Empire buildings” were on the northwest and northeast corners of Water and Main streets before they were turned into parking lots between 1970 and 1978.
The document described the building at 117 E. Water St. has having a “Mansard roof with gables dormers and round arched windows; bracketed cornice; tall second floor windows with hood molding and projecting three sided bay; projecting window bay on east; [and] first floor store fronts with transoms.”
In 1887, 117 E. Water St. was the site of Piqua Steam Laundry. Following its history as a laundry facility, the building has also been home to Hemm Bros. Battery Station, Ransom Metcalfe Printer, Piqua Premier Print, Lenox Press, Bivens Printing Co., Piqua Printing Co., Church of God, Fuller Upholstery, and B & R Upholstery between 1920 and 1980. It was also vacant a number of times between those years, and is listed as being vacant as far as 1996.
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