Residents and business owners of the Havana district of Aurora, Colorado, are relieved that an eyesore known as the Fanfare building is finally coming down. Built as a shopping center in the 1960s, the property has sat abandoned and neglected for more than 20 years. It looks like “a soccer ball sliced in half sitting on concrete,” according to the Denver Post.
But the problems with the Fanfare building are more serious than its appearance – the exterior of the dilapidated structure contains asbestos.
The building’s new owner, the city of Aurora’s Urban Renewal Authority (AURA) had long hoped to buy the Fanfare site and redevelop it as part of neighborhood revitalization efforts. The discovery of asbestos in the building, however, slowed the process.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral once widely added to building materials and consumer products to add strength and fire resistance. Although its uses were limited by the federal government during the 1970s, asbestos-containing materials are still present in millions of older buildings. Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause devastating diseases such as mesothelioma, a fatal cancer that attacks the linings of the body’s major organs.
When the surfaces of asbestos-containing materials are disturbed or damaged, microscopic fibers of asbestos are released into the air. Without appropriate safety precautions, demolition of the Fanfare site could be hazardous, putting workers and nearby residents at risk of asbestos exposure.
The presence of asbestos increased the purchase price of the building from $2.75 million to $4 million, since the city opted to buy the land “development ready,” according to the Post. This means that the previous owner must demolish the building and safely remove all toxic materials before the city will take possession of it.
Asbestos abatement and demolition of the Fanfare building are expected to begin in the next few weeks, and the city will then solicit proposals for new development.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and later diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Contact Sokolove Law today for a free case evaluation.