1075 Central Ave
NAPLES — After more than a year of sitting empty, the walls started to come down at the old site of the Naples Daily News on Wednesday with the help of a large excavator machine and a demolition crew.
But not all of the multiple buildings are coming down at once. Demolition for the largest former Naples Daily News building, the one that housed the press equipment, has been held up.
The City of Naples last month gave the E.W. Scripps Co., which owns the Daily News, a 30-day extension on all four of the demolition permits issued for the newspaper’s former home at 1075 Central Ave.
That means demolition must be finished by Sept. 27 or else the company will have to reapply for new demolitions permits, said Paul Bollenback, the city’s building official.
Demolition on the property – which has several buildings along 12th Street North in addition to the main building at 1075 Central – finally began Wednesday. Annexed buildings were among the first to come down. The ongoing drone of the excavator and the occasional boom of walls falling were audible for the businesses around 12th Street North where the demolition crew worked.
Bollenback said he was told demolition had been delayed because an asbestos survey performed in August found some asbestos in the newspaper’s main building.
Timothy Stautberg, the chief financial officer and treasurer of the E.W. Scripps Co., last week confirmed the report showed that “a small amount of asbestos was found” in one of the buildings. Stautberg did not know which of the buildings the asbestos was found in, but said he believed it was in the main building.
“There’s an asbestos abatement plan that’s being developed right now,” Stautberg said in an interview last week. “That will be taken care of before you demo the big building. It shouldn’t be a big deal at all; it’s fairly routine.”
But just because there’s asbestos in the building, Bollenback said people shouldn’t be overly concerned.
“It’s very common. It was used in roofing, it was used in installation,” Bollenback said. “If there’s a building with asbestos, that’s not a problem. It’s when the building gets demolished and produces a lot of dust” when it could be problematic.
Stautberg said he expects demolition to begin on the main building by the middle of the month.