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Engineer clears downtown Elyria roads to reopen after debris falls off building

  • mardi-gras-facade-jpg

    Maintenance workers knock away loose brick from the facade of the building that was the former home of Mardi Gras on Washington Avenue in Elyria. The workers were breaking away the loose bricks after a section of the building peeled away Thursday.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

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ELYRIA – A structural engineer cleared the old Mardi Gras Lounge building as safe Friday morning allowing city officials to reopen closed roads in downtown Elyria.

City officials closed the area around Washington Avenue and Merchants Alley between Kerstetter Way and Washington Avenue Thursday morning after a portion of the brick facade of the once downtown Elyria landmark crumbled onto the street below.

In assessing the damage Friday, Assistant Safety Service Director Kevin Brubaker said a structural engineer said the building was safe and structurally intact.

“It was just limited to the façade and all the remaining loose bricks were removed allowing us to reopen the street,” he said.

The building has been vacant for several years.

No one was hurt Thursday by the falling bricks.

The more than 100-year-old, six-story building is the former home of the Mardi Gras Lounge, Uncle Vic's Nightclub and Benchwarmers Sports Bar.

The entertainment complex enjoyed its heyday for decades before the city in 2011 urged the state not renew the owner's liquor permits due to violence and crime. The clubs closed a year later, leaving the building empty since 2012.

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.

In January 2015, Diversified Investments in Grafton bought the building in a four-property land deal worth $200,000.

Brubaker said it will be up to the owners to decide how to proceed as the building is safe right now.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.
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