The building at 200 Oak Grove St., which has been vacant for close to the past year, will receive perimeter fencing and its upper-story windows to be completely boarded up. This comes one year after the building was flagged for numerous quality of life violations that resulted in the city condemning the building.
Since the building became vacant, people began to squat in the building. People and first responders believe they have been responsible for three major fires at the building in the last three to four months, according to Deputy Fire Chief Rita Juran. The most recent fire occurred on September 20.
The building will be boarded up by a contractor retained by the Minneapolis Police and Fire Departments. Forestry crews were on site on early this week removing vines and trees on the property, perhaps in anticipation of the fence installation.
Deputy Fire Chief Juran said they are hesitant to do so, because it makes it much more difficult to see if a fire is happening and if anyone is inside. But they believe boarding up the building is the best and safest option for the building and those who live near it, because people would technically not be able to enter it anymore.
The building is owned by C. David George, a Whittier resident who bought it in the late 1970s. It has 128 violations concerning pest, plumbing, fire, and electrical issues dating back to 1998, more than half of which occurred in the past year and resulted in the building’s condemnation and displacement of residents.
According to county and court documents, George owns eight other buildings, six in Ward 7 and three in Ward 10. All of the buildings are mostly vacant and in various states of disrepair.
The Star Tribune reports neighbors and Councilmember Lisa Goodman’s office will meet with George and his attorneys to discuss his buildings. The Hennepin County Attorney is considering taking action against George.
George could not be reached for comment.