Demolition began Thursday morning on the building that once housed KFC and Taco Bell, Mel McKenzie, the spokesperson for Bagshaw Enterprises, told The Times-Gazette.
According to McKenzie, the building had been vacant since the KFC/Taco Bell operation closed its doors in 2009.
McKenzie told The Times-Gazette he expected demolition to be complete on Friday. At this time, McKenzie said there are no plans for the space.
”The building was getting run down. We’re just taking it down, so it isn’t a hazard and to avoid break-ins or anything that could happen with a vacant building,” McKenzie said. “[The building] was teeny-tiny. They need something bigger than that, and I think that was one of the issues with it in the past.”
The KFC at 133 Jefferson St. first opened in 1973, McKenzie said, but before that, it was a filling station. McKenzie wasn’t sure when the filling station first opened, but he said he believes it was originally owned by Southern Ohio Oil, who was bought out by Standard Oil, who was bought out by what’s now known as BP. Part of the problem now, McKenzie said, is dealing with the tanks they left behind.
“Just like any old filling station, they had underground tanks. Some were abandoned and others were removed. Those that were abandoned are still underground, which we have to figure out to how to get out,” McKenzie said. “It’s actually [BP’s] responsibility to come in and remove the tanks. The federal government says it’s their responsibility, but the problem with that is the federal government doesn’t give a timeline on the removal. They don’t say, ‘You have to be in here in the next 30 days’; they don’t say, ‘You have to be in here in the next 30 years.’ I don’t know when that process will take place.”
Greenfield City Manager Todd Wilkin told The Times-Gazette that the demolition took him by surprise at first, but he’s been working with McKenzie and Bagshaw Enterprises.
”This property is owned by the private sector, and we from the public sector are here to help them in whatever way we can,” Wilkin said. “Those tanks should’ve been removed way before the Bagshaws owned the property. It’s unfortunate, but I know they’ve been working on this for several years, so hopefully they can get it done, and we can clean up those old gas tanks, and we can have some land that we can develop.”
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.