New Owner Works to Keep Meriden Building Standing

A residential building on East Main Street in Meriden that suffered a wall collapse early this year won't be demolished, as had been planned by the city.

"I’ve received word from the city that as long as we work on it immediately, then it won’t get torn down" said Nue Vuksanha, the owner of 80 East Main Street.

Back in January, the building's back wall partially collapsed, compromising its structural integrity.

City officials condemned the building and allowed tenants to remove some of their belongings. It's been vacant ever since.

Vuksanha purchased the building earlier this year and said he has every intention of getting it back to livable conditions.

All tenants were forced from the building and had to find new housing.

One of them, Luis Gutierrez, said he was never allowed to reenter the building to get his belongings that included some clothes and a pair of fish tanks. He filed a lawsuit in small claims court against the company that owns the building to get his things out of the building.

"I don't care about any money," Gutierrez said during an interview Friday. “I just want my items. I know they didn’t take them out because they haven’t taken people’s stuff out. There’s still people’s curtains up from a year. I just want my stuff.”

The building's new owner advised former tenants to contact him and he would arrange for their items to be brought out of the building. He said former tenants can't enter the building for safety reasons.

Vuksanha pledged to get the building to better than its original condition before the walls collapsed.

"The plans for the building are to fix up the back wall, fix up the inside, acquire the rest of the building which includes 72 Main. I should be closing on that within the next couple of weeks."

Meriden city officials confirmed that the building had been slated for demolition. Vuksanha filed paperwork with the city on Christmas Eve to avoid the building from being destroyed. He pledged to make the necessary structural improvements to keep the building standing.

The back of the building shows severe structural damage. A blue tarp covers the corner of the building that partially collapsed. There's a large exposed wood section about thirty feet to the right that reveals another section that requires attention.

Vuksanha says he hopes to have the building in working condition in the next three months.

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