The former Estes Funeral Home, located at 2201 Plymouth Ave. North, is being prepared for demolition.
Buildings, much like human beings, exist in real time from their birth until their death. Buildings exist from their beginnings to their end. Buildings are built by human beings to provide shelter for all of our indoor activities. Given the realities of the urban environment, we continuously remove and replace buildings to provide for our needs.
While both health and wellness activities provided By NorthPoint Health and Wellness and ceremonies for the departed provided by Estes need to be performed in our community, the physical space, and location, became an issue at this site. Both activities could not share the same site at the same time. Conversations were held with owners, administrators, elected officials, architects and other significant parties to address and resolve the location issue. An agreement was made to relocate the funeral home to a nearby site (directly across the street) and allow the existing clinic to expand onto this site.
Demolition in a city such as Minneapolis, that is built-out from border-to-border, must occur since there is not much new, unbuilt land available. So, demolition becomes part of the process of new construction. Just as architects write specifications for new construction, they also write specifications for demolition. This document, combined with any appropriate drawings, instruct and inform the contractor how to proceed with the work. Just as there are building contractors, there are also demolition contractors. These contractors bid the demolition of a project so as to inform the client of the cost of removing the building from the site. The contract also indicates the way the site shall be left. Typically, this determines whether the site remains a “hole” or is filled-in, and to what elevation. This is an agreement to allow the new (building) contractor to start construction. The motivating factor in this understanding is the calendar. The seasons drive the construction schedule. And freezing is the benchmark of the seasons. The question then becomes, does the demolition contractor leave the hole, or does the new contractor dig it? There is no correct answer here. Every project is different.
Utility disconnections are made before building demolition begins. Below grade connections are removed, closed off and sealed. This is a requirement to protect the “public health, safety, and welfare.” Gas, water, sewer and sometimes electrical pipes are disconnected from their underground locations in the streets to the building. These disconnections allow for the next building to be hooked-up without causing damage to any surrounding customers. The demolition process must proceed in as orderly and methodically a fashion as the construction process does.
The permit to demolish any structure is issued by the Minnesota Pollution
Control Agency. The agency has the authority to review the demolition process to determine if there are any contaminants or materials that could pollute the soil or groundwater. Often demolished buildings contribute heavily to the recycling of materials that are returned to the construction process. Some materials in this building may yet live on.
This building has been unoccupied since Estes moved into its new facility this past December. A chain-link fence was erected at the former location to protect it during the winter months. Due to the freezing of the ground, demolition has been deferred until the spring thaw. This demolition procedure will be coordinated with the construction schedule for the expansion and remodeling of the NorthPoint Health and Wellness Facility. This will commence the third and final component of the intense economic development of this significant corner in North Minneapolis.