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ALBANY – Buildings on South Pearl Street were torn down Thursday in an emergency demolition by the city’s building department.

Two buildings, 397 and 399 S. Pearl St., were demolished while the back end of 395 S. Pearl St. was partially dismantled.

All three buildings, which were empty and deemed unsafe for at least six years if not over a decade, were “actively collapsing” when the fire department conducted its regular vacant building inspections and called for the emergency demolition, building department director Richard LaJoy said. 

LaJoy said all three building owners were currently facing prosecution for their “failure to maintain” their properties and a “slew of (building code) violations.” 

“In the most recent violations where we requested engineers’ assessments of the buildings, at which point they would outline deficiencies and then the owner would have been obligated to remediate any of those deficiencies, we never received the reports,” he said. 

The Times Union tried to contact the building owners for comment but was unable to reach them.

LaJoy said the city couldn’t ignore the situation. He and other department officials were at the site until about 10 p.m. Thursday until the demolition was completed. 


In the middle of the demolition Thursday, he said one of the building owners showed up. 

It wasn’t the previous owner that he had been corresponding with, but rather a new owner who said they bought the building and had plans to turn it into a commercial space for a business. LaJoy wasn’t entirely aware that the previous owner had sold the building and said it “infuriated” him that the prior owner sold it to someone knowing it was a “problem.”

“It was very, very unfortunate,” he said.

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