State and local officials meet to discuss situation at Charles Town mall building

After two fires this summer, the vacant complex is a major concern for both the City of Utica and the Town of Frankfort as the property sits in both municipalities.

Posted: Aug 8, 2019 5:25 PM

UTICA - Structural engineers will soon be brought in to inspect the former Charles Town mall outlet complex.

After two fires this summer, the vacant complex is a major concern for both the City of Utica and the Town of Frankfort, as the property sits in both municipalities.

Thursday afternoon, representatives from Utica and Frankfort, as well as county and state officials and the owner of the property, met at Utica City Hall to discuss what should happen next.

Everyone agrees the building presents a dangerous situation, especially responding firefighters, and the best solution is to demolish the entire complex. Financially, however, that is not feasible for the current owners, as demolition would cost millions of dollars.

The decision was made Thursday to bring in a structural engineer to inspect the building next week, and determine which parts of the structure are so dangerous - with the roof collapsed and the floors collapsed - that they must come down immediately.

Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri says then, when funding hopefully comes through at the state and federal level, the entire site will be demolished and cleaned up.

"I think the outcome here is, collectively, everyone is working together to remediate a concern not only for our public safety - our police and fire that are entering the building - but that's for any of the kids or anybody that's going into that (building),” said Palmieri. “And let me just say that anybody that's going into that building will be prosecuted to the highest… and I want to make sure that no one tries to enter the building, whether it be on the Frankfort side or the Utica side, it is a very dangerous building and the Utica police department - along with Frankfort - will do everything in their power to make an arrest."

Palmieri says the structural engineers should be available sometime next week, and demolition of at least parts of the complex could begin immediately.

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