The demolition of a deteriorating building in Lompoc began Monday, leaving some nearby business owners excited that something new will move into its place. However, others in town wish more could have been done to save the building.
After deteriorating for several years, the Ruskowski Building off H Street in “Old Town Lompoc” is coming down.
“It would have cost millions and millions to retrofit it and we didn’t have the money for that, so it basically sat. We tried to keep it as sound as we could with what we had but the building deteriorated to a point where it wasn’t even worth it,” explained the building’s owner, Bill Reardon.
The building will be flattened and the lot will turn into a blank canvas for someone to come in and build, but many hope whoever buys it will retain the old town charm.
Nearby businesses like Sissy’s Uptown Cafe and The Garden Shoppe say they’re excited for what comes next.
“Retail space would be good, more eating establishments would be good, something with a little bit of nightlife would be good cause there’s not a lot of that in Lompoc as it exists right now; so anything that would draw people and draw foot traffic,” said Steve Byork, manager of Sissy’s Uptown Cafe.
“It’s exciting to see the old building go. It’s kind of messy and it’s a little hard on our customers cause the parking is a little depleted but we will be happy to see it go. That building has been coming down in little chunks for a long time,” said Gale Dodds, owner of The Garden Shoppe.
But not everyone is thrilled to see this building in pieces. The Lompoc Filipino-American Club just put their mural on the building late last year.
Now the club’s president, Lida Steele, says they’re heartbroken knowing what they couldn’t salvage is in rubble.
“We’re praying for another place where we can build another one where we will not have this kind of predicament of losing another mural; not just losing, but it’s breaking our bank. This is worth $15,000-$18,000 and it went down like a vapor in the air.”
No businesses are closed as a part of this construction; however, sidewalks and parking have been impacted. The construction crews ask people to heed the warning signs on their fencing.
The demolition is expected to last 30 days. The price of the lot is unknown at this time.