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Topeka unsafe building given 60 days for demolition

The building that has been partially collapsed in downtown Topeka for two years now has 60 days to be demolished. What is still uncertain is the fate of Mr. Ed’s restaurant, which shares a common wall with the collapsing building.

The LaGrange County BZA held a hearing Tuesday evening to act on an order from the LaGrange County Building Department, which required a review.

Topeka Town Attorney Bill Eberhard told the BZA that engineering studies say the building should come down. Eberhard submitted a modification to the order for the BZA to consider that would see the building at 102-106 N. Main St. in Topeka torn down within 60 days and, if a purchase agreement between the owner of that building, Roger Diehm, and the owner of Mr. Ed’s, Robert Eyer, is completed, then the restaurant would also be demolished.

Eberhard continued, noting that if the purchase agreement between Diehm and Eyer was not completed, then the structure at 102-106 N. Main St. would still be razed within 60 days and that the two property owners would share the cost of securing and maintaining the common wall.

An attorney for Diehm, Michael Yoder of Kendallville, told the board that he felt that they had an enforceable agreement for the building.

However, it was noted that a check that had been delivered to Eyer’s attorney earlier Tuesday had been returned and that he had not signed over the deed for the property.

The BZA approved the modified order, which will see the structure at 102-106 N. Main St. demolished within 60 days of the order date of July 16. Mr. Ed’s will also be demolished within that 60 days if the purchase agreement is completed. If the purchase agreement does not go through, then the two property owners will share the cost of securing and maintaining the common wall.

It was noted that to be considered demolished by law, the area where the structures stand will need to be filled in and either covered with gravel or covered with dirt and seeded.

If Mr. Ed’s remains open, it will need to be closed while the adjacent structure is being demolished, and until the common wall is secured. The wall would also need to be secured within that 60 day timeframe.