Crews demolish vacant Grand Hotel in downtown Waterloo - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Crews demolish vacant Grand Hotel in downtown Waterloo

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

This week, crews began tearing down the former Grand Hotel in downtown Waterloo. The building has been sitting empty since the city purchased it in July 2010.

Kent Rohlvit and Barbara Fuller drive past the Grand Hotel every day and have seen it sitting empty for more than a year. They were happy to see crews on the site this week finally tearing down the site of numerous criminal problems.

"We would see a lot of police cars pull in there, arresting people," Fuller said.

"There were busts continuously, there were shootings going on," Rohlvit agreed.

In the final years of the Grand Hotel's operations, police spent a lot of time responding to calls, some minor, others more serious.

"We saw a lot of drug activity there, and fights... yeah. It was time to go," Waterloo Police Captain Tim Pillack said.

The City of Waterloo purchased the site in July 2010 and began planning the demolition. Asbestos containment was just one of the hurdles crews had to cross before any actual destruction could begin. But once they got the okay, it's been full speed ahead.

"It's coming down pretty fast too. I'm impressed," Waterloo City Planner II Chris Western said.

If all goes as planned, the former Grand Hotel will be a vacant lot by the end of the month. There is still some work to complete on the site when the weather warms up. Crews will need to tear out the black top areas and fill in the pool. Then the city will begin looking for a buyer.

"Actually, a nice restaurant or something would be great. The location here right of the highway and stuff would be a great place for it," Rohlvit said.

The city is counting on that prime location for a quick sale come spring.

"We're thinking it will be a very easy sell to a developer for a various number of different projects," Western said.

The city is looking for a new business to compliment the other improvements in the area, including the Grout Museum, Young Arena, and the future Sportsplex. Until then, Rohlvit and Fuller are just thankful the eyesore on West Mullan is coming down.

"It's good to see it go. Good to see it finally taken care of," Rohlvit added.

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