Friday, September 25, 2009

JNS VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Backhoe Takes Down Uncle Bill's Store...

The long-awaited demolition of the old Uncle Bill's Store, a.k.a. "Uncle Lennie's," is in progress as I type these words and load up this video. The building did not put up a fight, and appeared to fall apart from the slightest touch of the backhoe. A workman at the sight said the building was dry rotted all the way through, and that's why it was coming apart so easily.

Here is exclusive video of the first tender, loving, nibble-like kisses of backhoe versus Uncle Bill's.

(Do not click "Read More")


Anonymous said...

I stopped by a couple times during the day. At around noon the contractors were still busy with preliminary work like covering the sidewalks with plywood and knocking off the brick exterior so they don't become projectiles. I stopped back later and the buildings structural problems were obvious as they tore it apart- rotten beams, a collapsing chimney, and obviously the structure had been seriously weakened when a load bearing wall had been removed. When I left about 3 p.m. about two thirds of the building was gone and it was obvious they'll be finished with it today.

Margaret said...

I remember that one of the defenders of Uncle Bill's (can't remember which one) had claimed that the load bearing wall issue that the inspectors identified, and which was the primary issue that got it condemned was false and invented by the city to shut it down. The inspectors should feel vindicated if what Anon 5:21 says is true.

JNS Reader said...

So who won the contest?

Johnny Northside said...

In regard to the contest associated with that old post, to pick the day, hour, minute Uncle Lennie's comes down...

The winner appears to be the anonymous commenter who said Monday, August 31, 2009. That was the latest date picked--besides VERY late dates that were way off.

To that anonymous commenter: congratulations on your eternal blog glory, which is, um, completely anonymous so almost anybody can claim to be the one who won!

Now we need to pick the exact day, hour and minute that Uncle Lennie files a lawsuit

Anonymous said...

The removal of the load-bearing wall was true, but it was only a minor issue compared to the major structural issues that the building already had--the curvature of the floor, the front wall bowing out and held in place by metal rods, and the pervasive dry rot had been documented years earlier, but because of the flawed commercial inspections system had never been acted upon.

Anonymous said...

first entry: Monday, Sept 28th, 9 am.

Jordan Neighbor said...

@Anon 1205pm - first of all you need to give yourself some kind of identity.

But - I don't think Lennie is *that* ambitious to serve the lawsuit first thing Monday morning. Oh, I think he will be *dreaming* about it Monday at 9am, but he won't have is terds in a herd to get it done that early.

So, I guess, Thursday Oct 1st at 1130am.

Johnny Northside said...

I agree with the last comment, except that my preferred spelling is "turds."

In addition to being "all flash, no cash" I think this will be a case of "all turd, no herd."

Don Allen said...

This building in spite of what happened in the past is an example of why African-American's can't do business or have a business in north Minneapolis. Don Samuels "pushed" the proposal through the city council and out-slicked the SUBP goals by having the demolition cost under $50,000. The funny thing is, if this demolition "spending cap" is over $50,000 and the final cost is over $50,000 - I'm sure Don Samuels will see some action al la Lisa Goodman - "If he didn't already 'scrub' his office emails.

MeganG. said...

@Don Allen - what you just said is COMPLETELY FALSE.

If I remember correctly, the council approved the demo at the estimated cost which was under $50K - then as the bids were coming in the estimates where higher, much higher, and it had to go back before the full council to get approval for the additional expenditure, and it did get approved.

Don Samuels didn't squeak anything by.

You keep bringing up this lawsuit that pertains to Lisa Goodman cause you know good and well that you and your friend Lennie Chism are foaming at the mouth to file a lawsuit about Uncle Bill's store being torn down.

Instead of putting any time, effort, energy (and money) into something productive for the community, Lennie (and you) just want to tie up the city's time and resources and cause a big stink.

I guess negative attention is better than no attention.

Anonymous said...

@ Don Allen: you know, if you took care of that attention deficit disorder, you might be able to come up with more coherent conspiracy theories. In the meantime, please feel free to continue to spout your theory that the one thing wrong with the Northside is that our standards have always been too high, and that it's our duty to never, ever ask our neighborhood businesses to put forward a decent business plan, or to acknowledge reality (in this case, that the building was crumbling from within, which is why no legitimate businessperson would ever be interested in it), but that we must always allow ourselves to be duped by a few platitudes. No one is listening to you. The neighborhood is moving forward without you. You have become one of the obstructionist demagogues you are always claiming to be holding accountable.

The Mortgage Geek said...


Please explain to me the link between the cost of the demolition and why African Americans can't have successful businesses. Frankly, I think this is an example of the race card being played in north Minneapolis when someone like Lennie doesn't have a solid plan and fails to address even the most basic issues facing his so-called proposal for the site.

(But I do try to see all sides of an issue, so if I'm missing something here, please enlighten me. If you don't wish to do so in a public setting such as this blog, I'm open to a more private discussion.)

(We rejoin this rant already in progress...)

To the extent that there is racism inherent in the system, I submit that Lennie Chism is making the problem WORSE. He did not submit any serious proposals about Uncle Bill's, nor did he make them publicly available. He lost his prior building to foreclosure. That structure has had something of a sordid history in terms of remaining up to code. Has Lennie created one sustainable job in this community? Has he created one profitable enterprise?

As Lennie Chism goes from one failure to the next, at his own fault, he allows people with racist views (if those people are in decision-making positions in the city, which I'm sure you and I would disagree on that matter) to point to his atrocious results as a justification for denial of someone else's plans.

Once again, I reiterate my position that Lennie's only plan all along was to find some way to sue the city and get a payout.