MANATEE -- A decrepit building near the former site of a beryllium plant at Tallevast is set for demolition at the expense of the owner, a county official said Tuesday.
About 80 percent of the shell of the building at 1520 Tallevast Road, which has become structurally unsafe, is set for demolition as soon as a permit is issued, said John Barnott, the director of the Manatee County Building and Development Services Department.
The area around the former site of the plant has been contaminated by toxic chemicals and has been undergoing remediation.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is supervising the site, Barnott said.
A final site assessment is due in June, Barnott told the Manatee County Commission Tuesday.
Barnott estimated about 80 percent of the structure would be demolished at the expense of the owner, which he identified after the meet
ing as Whogas Inc., of Hickory, N.C., and Sarasota.
Asked when the demolition might take place, Barnott replied it would occur as soon as the forms are processed, perhaps as soon as within a day or two.
Late Tuesday, he said a demolition permit had not been issued yet, but the application for its issuance lacked only a few minor items.
"I am doing everything legally possible to get that building torn down," Barnott told the commission.
Mark Barnebey, who represents the property owner, said he was surprised the demolition appeared to be in the offing, since his client had been negotiating a potential sale of the property with county and the Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority officials.
"It'll likely go down either way, at least the part that is still structurally sound," said Barnebey.
The former American Beryllium plant at 1600 Tallevast Road was dismantled, and a water-treatment facility was completed on its site in 2013, said Gary Cambre, communications manager for property owner Lockheed Martin. Beryllium is an element that, when added as an alloying agent to other metals such as aluminum, copper, iron and nickel, improves their physical properties.
The plume of contaminants from the former plant stretches over a 900-acre area, Cambre said, noting, "DEP oversees the whole area."
Barnott said he had received many complaints from business owners and residents about the eyesore, which graffiti artists have decorated in many shades.
A member of the Tallevast community was surprised to hear the building would be demolished, even though she said she had sought its removal for many years.
"We had no idea, we were told some time ago that in order to demolish the building, they would have to take special precautions," said Laura Ward, president of Family Oriented Community United Strong, which represents Tallevast community members. "DEP has been in charge of evaluations over the past year -- they've been very private."
She said the building had originally been part of the American Beryllium campus, but later was occupied by other businesses.
"That's what we've asked, that it be taken down, it's an eyesore for the community, but I'm truly surprised," Ward said.
Rick Piccolo, president and chief executive officer of Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, which is across the street, said, "We'll be pleased to see that building coming down. For 19 years, I've been at the airport, it's always been in the same condition -- it was derelict 19 years ago.
"It'll make that area look nicer," he added.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.