BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Demolition work began on an empty building in Bridgeport's East End that had been heavily damaged in a fire in 2014, according to an announcement from the mayor's office.
Mayor Joe Ganim, city council members, and local community leaders were on hand when the building at 1081 Stratford Ave. began to come down on Dec. 19.
“Our war on blight is making progress, one building at a time,” Ganim said in the statement.
The building once housed Petteway Market and an adjacent social club, plus apartments.
But it was severely damaged in a 2014 fire and had since been condemned.
Demolition was the only option to prepare the lot for new development because the property owner carried no insurance on the building, the mayor's office said.
So far, 23 blighted buildings have been identified for demolition. The lots will then be open for economic development projects and opportunities to improve the community.
“We will continue to be aggressive identifying what buildings can be saved and redeveloped, and what buildings are an eyesore and a health hazard and need to come down so we can transform the neighborhood," Ganim said in the statement.
"My administration is committed to reviving the East End of Bridgeport and making this neighborhood the prosperous residential, commercial and cultural center it was, historically," he said.
"This will improve the quality of life for all the neighbors living near this blighted lot. Demolishing this building and others to come in the near future I hope sends a clear signal that we are serious of getting rid of blight in Bridgeport and clearing the way for new investment."
Demolition of the blighted buildings was coordinated by Tom Coble, an employee of the Bridgeport Department of Public Facilities and a longtime resident of the East End.