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Downtown Novato Building Clawed into Mangled Pile

The demolition of 999 Grant Ave., an office building that has been empty for 11 years, has begun.

A crew from Devcon Construction showed up Monday morning to the intersection of Grant Avenue and Redwood Boulevard to that for some had come to symbolize economic stagnation in Novato.

The office building at 999 Grant Ave., now owned by Novato-based , was biten into by bucket excavator just after noon Monday, marking the beginning of the end for a structure that has sat vacant for 11 years at one of Novato's busiest intersections.

Here is a video of the initial demolition work done by the crew plus a second video of the early morning preparation of removing the vegetation around the building.

Edwin Drake May 24, 2011 at 01:18 AM
What a ridiculous waste of a resource -- this is as un-green as it gets. Circle Bank should be renamed "Circle the Drain" bank for the wasteful way they're destroying this property.
Kevin May 24, 2011 at 01:42 AM
Edwin, you make an excellent point. But the City of Novato does require any new project over 5000 sq ft to be a LEED® Accredited project. please look at the NON-RESIDENTAL REQUIREMENTS GUIDELINES http://www.ci.novato.ca.us/Index.aspx?page=1180 This is a standard in most communities in California. So in short what you see is the demolition of the building, but all materials will need to be separated and recycled. Very little will actually go into a landfill. They could have done a Deconstruction and then the building materials would be reused. They could have used a nonprofit group like this http://thereusepeople.org/ then as much of the material would have been reused, not just recycled.
Brent Ainsworth (Editor) May 24, 2011 at 01:57 AM
A second video and more photos have been added to this story ...
Lou Judson May 24, 2011 at 02:52 PM
I wish I understood how a building can stand vacant for 11 years - was it overpriced by a greedy owner, or just a badly designed and built structure? I'm not sentimental about it; it was an ugly eyesore the day it went up (I remember), but I wonder if the new replacement will be any better - or just newer? Banks have not been known for beautiful buildings for at least 75 years. Not to miss the irony that they are building new when there are SO many vacancies in Marin. Banks caused and profited from the recession... along with Wall St.
docB May 24, 2011 at 06:18 PM
LEED accredited is good but they still could have reused materials! I was disappointed to see those windows destroyed.
Lou Judson May 24, 2011 at 06:29 PM
docB, It is an unfortunate economic reality that removing and reusing things such as windows not designed for easy removal would cost much more than trashing them. Even if they recycled the broken glass, the labor cost would exceed even the resources of a lousy bank! Not to mention the liability insurance costs of letting some caring contractor rmove them in a way that they could be reused... With a building constructed in the 1960s there was little thought given to reduce, reuse, recycle. Go look at the recycled building material places such as Urban Ore in Berkeley, and most of it is from the 1940s and before... I agree it is a shame, but the late 20th century was a profligate waste of materials and conscious thought. Things are hardly better with new contruction even now... I work in a LEED approved building in Berkeley which is certified "green" and it is all concrete and steel, and when it has seen its life used up it will have to be smashed to be replaced. Only the concrete shell was reused from the previous building. Much of "green" is a commercial scam, I feel.
docB May 24, 2011 at 06:36 PM
The windows could have easily been taken out. So could lighting fixtures, doors, handrails etc. The only obstacle would be the liability issue but even this is not an impossible hurdle. The demo contractor is covered and could have taken them out. They took the quick and easy way out
Kevin May 24, 2011 at 06:42 PM
The glass was probably all custom sizes Lighting fixtures dont meet Title 24 requirements the Hnadrails don't meet current code. The door hardware also wont meet current code. Because of code upgrades, most of the materials would not be able to be reused.
docB May 24, 2011 at 06:49 PM
So the glass is custom sizes? Commercial work is usually a common spacing i.e. 4' oc Fluorescent fixtures can still meet Title 24. Handrails also can meet current code and who knows how those balcony pipe rails would be reused with just a little imagination. Same with the doors. I feel most of the materials could be reused even by current codes
Kevin May 24, 2011 at 07:28 PM
I will let you know next time I demo a job and you can come pick up the material. I work for a construction company in SF and have nothing to do with this project in any way. Just letting the public know the facts.. I am last to send debris to the landfill, but most cant be reused...
docB May 24, 2011 at 08:33 PM
Great! let me know. I'll be there! Facts are, I could definitely reuse a lot of that mtl.
Naynay May 24, 2011 at 09:23 PM
I wish Novato was a smarter city! Remove the building, build a park or nice outdoor area and open up the Novato Theatre. Bring some life downtown. There have been countless people willing to fund it completely but Novato city council refuses....why???

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