Sorry, Travis, aka Travistron aka Traviston aka Traveltron, but you’ll have to move along. CHS delivered the news earlier this week direct to Travis that his and others’ accumulation of camping gear, treasures, and trash will have to clear out from the doorways of the empty Piecora’s building at 14th and Madison after increasing complaints to the city and police about homeless campers at the site.
Our visit with Travis was part reporting, part giving him a head’s up about what we knew of the developer’s plan.
“We are in the permit process now and don’t yet have a demolition date,” a spokesperson for Equity Residential tells CHS. “This weekend we will be cleaning up the property and working to secure the area.”
Equity purchased the building home to the much-loved E Madison pizza joint and other businesses in spring of 2013 for $10.3 million with plans to develop a six-story, 140-unit mixed-use apartment building on the land. To date, there are no demolition permit applications on file for the property nor any early signs of construction paperwork likely putting the project a long time from construction work.
In recent weeks and through December’s bitterly cold nights, the doorways and old patio area of the Piecora’s building had become a refuge for homeless campers. Along with some piles of garbage, the campers have collected blankets and backpacks along with random treasures like a discarded Casio keyboard. The small BBQ grill brought out a fire response in recent weeks and police were called last week to a fight outside the building. We’ve asked the city for details on the complaints filed with DPD and are awaiting the documents.
For Travis, the clean-up will mean finding a new place to camp and keep his possessions. He told CHS aspects of shelter living like curfews aren’t for him and that he was trying to “make something cool” around Piecora’s and doing his best to keep it clean.
UPDATE 1/14/15: Good news for fans of large empty lots — a demolition permit for the property was applied for — and immediately issued — Tuesday. You’ll note the permit is good through July 13th, 2016 so the building won’t necessarily be torn down immediately. In the meantime, the permitting and design review process for the planned development has not yet started. Contractors were busy at the site last weekend cleaning up the area and installing plywood to block the old storefront entrances.