Eyesore building to finally be demolished

Eyesore building to finally be demolished

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The dilapidated building on the corner of Mineral Spring Avenue and Smithfield Road, long the target of complaints and town citations, is set to be demolished after Rhode Island State Building Board and Standards Commission sided last week with the town in the matter.

The eyesore building at 1840 Mineral Spring Ave. is owned by Dr. Anthony Farina, who runs the doctor’s office next door.

In a letter to Farina’s attorney Chris Mulhearn last Friday, Building Official Ben Nascenzi noted that the state board summarily denied Farina and Branting LLC’s appeal of the town’s July 2 demolition notice on the property.

In addition, stated the letter, officials discovered that Farina pulled a permit to demolish the structure last Wednesday, Oct. 10. Town Planner David Westcott confirmed that the demolition permit was pulled.

“Please be advised that if your client fails to comply with the town’s demolition order by Wednesday, Oct. 17, the town will make arrangements to remove said structure by Friday, Oct. 19, due to the imminent threat to public safety that this building has created,” wrote Nascenzi.

Mayor Charles Lombardi said Farina could still appeal last week’s ruling to Superior Court, but he’s been advised that no judge will agree to any type of reprieve given the condition of the building. Members of the state board, who typically visit properties before rendering a decision, said they didn’t have to in this case, he noted, saying they had all the information they needed about the building.

Lombardi said Mulhearn wasn’t aware last week that his client had taken out the demolition permit.

Neither Mulhearn nor Farina returned calls for comment.

If the town takes the building down, said Lombardi, officials will place a lien on the property.

“My game plan is, that building’s coming down, and then I’m going to make sure a new one gets built so we can get the tax dollars,” he said.

The mayor was previously under the impression that Farina would sign a consent order with the town to avoid last Thursday’s hearing, but the doctor never officially signed it.

Farina will be entirely responsible for the costs of tearing down the dilapidated structure, said the mayor.

Lombardi joked that he’s put in a special request with attorneys representing Farina: “I asked the attorney if the doctor could be present shaking my hand in front of my picture,” he said.

Farina caused a stir in early July when he commissioned the painting of a caricature of the mayor as king of North Providence sitting on his porcelain throne on the front wall of the structure as part of a long-running feud with Lombardi.

The mayor says he intends to work with Farina to ease restrictions or barriers in rebuilding once the old building comes down.

Dr. Farina declined to submit a demolition plan for his dilapidated and vacant building by an early August deadline, instead appealing the town’s order to do so. 

The town went to the Oct. 11 hearing armed with inspection reports from two companies stating that the building should be torn down.

Nascenzi’s July 2 order to demolish the building cited a structural assessment done by Odeh Engineers detailing “localized failures” of the building’s roof, which could eventually lead to a structural collapse. A second assessment from Ahlborg Engineers found “irreparable” conditions at Farina’s building due to “severe neglect.”

Farina’s building has been a frequent target of neighborhood complaints over the years. Farina previously blamed town officials for running fire exercises in the building that led to its deterioration, and was also not pleased about the rejection of a tax stabilization agreement he was looking for from the town to redevelop the property.

Comments

Thank you again Mayor Lombardi for not allowing an arrogant real estate speculator to get real estate gains on the backs of North Providence tax payers via subsidies.

I hope he builds a parking lot, that way Lombardi doesn't get the tax money he's looking for? Or maybe donate the land to a church! Church property is not taxable!

I’m glad the town stood firm against the childish antics of Dr. Farina. There are neighborhoods behind that building, it is prime real-estate, and could make the doctor and the town through tax collection lots of money.
The commenter above: msdpok clearly doesn’t understand the basics of finance or budgeting with the comment “I hope he builds a parking lot, that way Lombardi doesn't get the tax money he's looking for? Or maybe donate the land to a church! Church property is not taxable!”
Why would you not want Lombardi to get the tax money he’s looking for? Would you prefer a higher tax rate? Would you prefer the unsafe and unsightly building to remain in the center of town.
A rat infested contaminated old mill on the banks of a brownfield federal hazardous waste site (Woonasquatucket River) is quite a different situation than a small building on the corner of one of the busiest intersections in town and the doctor was just being an entitled and immature individual. Definitely not someone whom I’d trust with my healthcare or wellbeing.