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Demolition of central-city housing project is delayed

Demolition-of-central-city-housing-project-is-delayed

Albertus Brown public housing, left, and right, with the Brand Whitlock projects behind, at center. The project was built in 1940 and has 54 units in seven buildings that are contiguous to the Brand Whitlock projects.

The Blade/Jetta Fraser
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Demolition of a central-city housing project was delayed Friday when the wrecking crew and equipment from New York were forced to take a different, lengthier route.

The equipment was too big and heavy to travel main highways, explained Terri Parker, of Parker & Co., who was organizing a media event at the Albertus Brown public housing site at Belmont Avenue and Division Street near downtown Toledo.

Razing of the 71-year-old complex was scheduled to begin Friday morning and then bumped to the afternoon, but travel time for machinery was longer than expected, pushing the beginning of demolition to Monday.

Michael Shea, director of redevelopment and modernization for the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority, said the delay wouldn't cause any major setbacks.

"One of the reasons we wanted to do this event is because it really represents a major milestone in this project, and this one in particular is very important to the community," Mr. Shea said. "It's been a long time coming and represents the start of a lot of great change for this neighborhood and community."

Albertus Brown and the Brand Whitlock complexes will be razed and replaced with Collingwood Green, a four-story, 65-unit senior living facility scheduled to break ground in the next four to six weeks. The first phase is expected to be completed and available for move-in by the end of 2012.

Residents are still moving out from the southern half of Brand Whitlock, Mr. Shea said. All the residents should be out of the housing complex by March.

The residents of each complex met individually with authorities from LMHA and were given two relocation options. They could take Section 8 vouchers or could move into other LMHA housing, Mr. Shea said. He added that most families opted to take the vouchers, and people were scattered all over the city.

Taking down the two complexes -- which are mostly boarded up -- to create the one large building will add a significant amount of green space, which will include a park that will run alongside the roadway, Mr. Shea said.

Demolition will be done by Titan Wrecking & Environmental of Tonawanda, N.Y.

"We did a publicly advertised bid, and they were the lowest bidder," Mr. Shea said.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at: tdungjen@theblade.com or 419-724-6054.

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