The saga of a long-abandoned eyesore that contaminated area groundwater and marred the look of one of Lodi's main thoroughfares finally came to an end Tuesday after the building partially collapsed into the street.
Heavy machinery was used to take down the rest of the Garibaldi Avenue site after the partial late-morning collapse across from the Cynthia Gardens apartment complex.
No serious injuries or major damage to other property was reported. The road, however, remained closed indefinitely between Mill and Short streets.
The building at 199 Garibaldi Avenue was once owned by Gibraltar Plastics Corp., which state authorities said released more than 200 gallons of heavy heating oil into the ground.
Then came Interplast Universal Industries, which coated fabric with the type of toxic chemicals that got it placed on a state DEP list of contaminated sites.
A "well-involved" June 2009 blaze brought more than 100 firefighters from 16 departments to the building, which had been abandoned five years earlier.
They rotated for more than seven hours before bringing it under control, then attacked hot spots well into the morning due to roof collapses, fire officials said at the time.
The building remained standing, however.
City planners late last year approved an enormous proposed mixed-use complex at the site with more than 500 apartments, as well as shops and restaurants, in three buildings -- plus a parking garage. Environmental and other approvals are needed before planning can begin in earnest.
Demolition is already ahead of schedule.
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