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Demolition of Unfinished House Coming Soon, Building Department Says

The Birmingham City Commission voted to approve a contract Monday that would demolish the half-built house on Wimbleton — unless the homeowner finishes the job first.

The half-built home on Wimbleton Street that stirred up controversy earlier this summer may soon come tumbling down.

The Birmingham City Commission voted Monday night to authorize the City Manager to execute a demolition contract for a home at 187 Wimbleton, in Birmingham's Poppleton Park neighborhood.

The city voted to condemn the house at its June 11 meeting, ordering the homeowner to either repair the house or demolish it within 60 days.

According to Birmingham's Bruce Johnson, the homeowners did not repair or demolish the house before the Aug. 10 deadline, authorizing the city to demolish it for them.

However, Johnson came before the commission Monday night with good news: in recent days, the homeowners have made several moves to demolish the house, entering into a contract with the demolition company, Blue Star, Inc. Based on the steps taken so far, Johnson said the structure could be gone by next week.

With that in mind, Johnson asked the city to wait.

"It's preferable that the owner demolish the property with their own money rather than the city expending the money to demolish the property and waiting for reimbursement," he said.

The home at 187 Wimbleton has a troubled history with its neighbors. At the commission meeting in June, several area residents turned up to complain about the structure, which had sat unfinished for several years — a dangerous eyesore, residents complained.

At the time Jake Poritt, an attorney representing the Walter Wikol Trust and Murray Wikol — the group that owned the home — said they needed more money to finish the house. Murray Wikol said that 60 days wasn't enough time to finish the project, noting he might be able to finish the exterior but not the interior.

Ultimately, the commissioners decided Monday night to wait and see if the homeowner demolished the house within a week or two. If not, City Manager Bob Bruner said he'll be able to execute the approved demolition contract with Den-Man Contractors. The cost to demolish the home would be $8,800, all of which would have be reimbursed to the city.

"I hope we get this done quickly," Commissioner Gordon Rinschler said. "The folks in that neighborhood have been patient."

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