BRADENTON — For those feeling sentimental about the inevitable demolition of the old Manatee Players building across from Bradenton City Hall on Old Main Street, the razing will start next week.
City Clerk Carl Callahan said a start date from Forristall Enterprises Inc., out of Palmetto, was provided to the city earlier this week. Forristall Enterprises administrative assistant Lynn Tomczak said equipment would be moved into place on Monday, “but we aren’t sure if we will get a chance to start demolition on that Monday or if it will be Tuesday morning.”
The 1950s-era building was difficult to maintain even before the Manatee Players moved to its new theater at 502 Third Ave. W. in March 2014. The building was essentially closed at that time with various code violations. It has since fallen into further disrepair.
The city debated its future for about 18 months. Callahan said there was some interest in the building, but mostly from nonprofits wanting to lease it for $1 a year. It also was looked at for other potential business purposes, but the odd-shaped design of the theater with its sloping floor made any renovations costly.
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Ultimately, the city chose to demolish the building and keep it as a “development ready” property.
The city unofficially has City Hall up for sale with the intention of moving its government offices off of the waterfront to make room for private development. That sale would make the old Manatee Players property more viable for a bigger development.
“We all know we want private development on the water,” said Callahan. “Maybe for a future hotel because we know there is a lot of interest for that.”
For now, the building will be razed and the ground graded and sodded for downtown green space until a future use is determined.
Forristall Enterprises was awarded the demolition contract worth $23,500.
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter @urbanmark2014.