Columbus building inspectors needed an administrative search warrant to get inside a badly deteriorated Westgate-area commercial building.
It’s not often that building inspectors need a search warrant. But they wanted to see if the building’s condition is as bad on the inside as it is on the outside. “It is a little bit of an unusual move,” said Anthony Celebrezze, spokesman for the city’s Department of Building and Zoning Services.
The 2,560-square-foot building at 2840-2842 W. Broad St., located next to a Dirty Frank’s restaurant, dates to 1930.
“It’s not only an eyesore, it’s dangerous because of the falling facade,” said Betty Jaynes, who leads the Westgate Neighbors Association, which wants a revitalized West Broad Street commercial strip.
According to the search warrant filed on May 18, the city received a complaint about the building in July 2014 that it was unsafe. It has been vacant and tax delinquent since 2011. In October 2014, then-Mayor Michael B. Coleman placed the property on the city’s list of the 10 most-blighted commercial properties.
“Three years ago, we went out and part of the facade had fallen down,” Celebrezze said.
The owner of the property was Angelo K. Bendoff. He died in 2012, but the property wasn’t included in his estate. A South Side home improvement company pulled a permit to secure the building in 2013, and listed Bendoff as the owner.
In September 2015, the lawyer probating the estate told officials that the property was left out of the estate on purpose and that Bendoff’s son, Nicholas, had no liability for the property.
There were two sheriff’s sales, but neither was completed. Nick Ailabouni, who owns Dirty Frank’s, tried to buy the building to expand the business.
In May 2016, a building inspector found that the back wall and roof were deteriorating and that there was a large hole where the wall and roof met. Also, the entire front was open to weather. But…