ELYRIA — A portion of the brick facade of what was once a downtown Elyria landmark crumbled onto the street below Thursday morning and city officials continue to assess the damage.
Police, fire and city engineering staff, along with the building’s manager, came to the old Mardi Gras Lounge at Washington Avenue and Depot Street about 11:30 a.m. after bricks from the building came crashing down to the sidewalk.
No one was hurt by the falling bricks.
The property manager joined the Elyria city engineer in assessing the building to determine its structural integrity, peeling more debris off the building as a precaution.
Assistant Safety Service Director Kevin Brubaker said Washington Avenue would remain closed between Broad Street and the Norfolk-Southern railroad bridge until later today. Officials also closed Merchants Alley between Kerstetter Way and Washington Avenue.
Train traffic stopped on the railroad tracks because of the collapse, but has since resumed.
The original four-story building, which dates to the late 1890s, is the former home of Mardi Gras Lounge, which enjoyed its heyday before the city urged the state to not renew the owner’s liquor permits due to violence and crime dating to 2011. In the last days of the building’s operations, an Elyria woman was flown to a Cleveland hospital after she was stabbed in an apartment on the upper floors of the building, according to a police report.
The building also housed Uncle Vic’s Nightclub and Benchwarmers Sports Bar, which was also known for its crime and closed a year later, leaving the building empty since 2012.
In January 2015, Diversified Investments in Grafton bought the building in a four-property land deal worth $200,000.
Little information is publicly available about who owns Diversified Investments, but it shares a post office mailing address with General Plug and Manufacturing in Grafton, owned by Kevin Flanigan.