BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — After around a decade of back and forth between community leaders, the city of Altoona is now considering using eminent domain on a historic building that once served as a popular store.
The McCrory building in downtown Altoona is condemned. This former business icon has become a product of urban blight.
“it’s gotten to the point where we have exhausted everything we can do to try to get the owner to repair it and start fixing things up here,” Vice Mayor Dave Butterbaugh said. “It’s in really bad shape.”
The building is owned by McCrory’s LLC, based out of New York City. The building has been deemed unsafe for firefighters or other emergency responders to enter; there is no roof and there is even a boat in the basement.
Butterbaugh said there have been folks interested in the building and offers were made, but the owner does not want to sell.
This week, the Altoona city council initiated the discussion on whether or not to enact eminent domain, which through a legal process would take away the property in the building from the current owner with a monetary transaction and sell it to someone who is willing to fix it.
“We cannot have public health issues like this any longer,” Butterbaugh said.
The eminent domain vote will happen June 28.
Sign up for the WTAJ Newsletter for the latest local news, weather and community events that matter to you.