An earlier permit allowed for the demolition of the back wall, and on Saturday, two pieces of heavy equipment sat in the alley behind what was a front wall and two partial side walls, but no permit had been requested for the front wall. That is, until this week.
"I filed to demolish the front wall at the city engineer's office," said the music hall's owner Christine Scott. "The decision will be made by the Design and Review Board. It's my understanding they meet the third Monday of every month, and the next meeting will not be until May 19."
A member of that board, Kirk Donges, opposes the demolition of the front facade.
"It's unfortunate to tear down any of it, but we understand - with the fire - that the brick is probably pretty brittle now, the structure for the roof is all gone, basically. It would take a lot more to rebuild from what's there than maybe to build something new onto the front," Donges said. "In our minds before, the important piece has been the fabric there along Gallia Street - the fabric of the streetscape there along with the esplanade. He (Lee Scott) spent a lot of time bringing it back. It was hidden for years, what the front looked like, and it wasn't affected at all by the fire."
Donges said he believes with no authorization in place to destroy the front of the building, there is an opportunity to save a piece of history.
"We have a chance here to save that piece of fabric, and the history of the city, and then maybe somebody will then want to do something with the back of it, rebuild an auditorium, or find another use for it," he said. "We just don't want to keep losing these historic buildings in the city."
Christine Scott said she considers the idea of maintaining the front when the other walls have been demolished as "impractical, because of the damage from the fire and resultant mildew."
"There was this idea that was placed out there that we would donate it to the city, and a portion of our insurance proceeds that we received," she said. "But if the city wasn't willing to take it, it is kind of hard to find someone in this town with the resources to do it. It's going to be a lot of work - a lot of work and a lot of expense."
Earlier, Scott used a portion of the insurance payoff to pay back $188,891.97, borrowed from the city's Business Revolving Loan Fund.
Scott said the purpose for asking for the demolition of the back wall came from the condition of that wall following the fire in late October 2007, that nearly destroyed the structure hours after a concert. Fire officials declared the wall unsafe, leading to steps to bring it down.
Local, state and federal authorities have ruled the fire was caused by arson, and an investigation is ongoing.
So what is Scott's next step?
"If the talks do not resume with the city to donate it to like the Arts Council, which is what we wanted to do - donate it to the city and let the Arts Council or some other division of the city take over that part," she said. "If they (the Arts Council) would use it, I would assume they would, being a non-profit organization, have access to grants and things like that, that would pay for the great expense it would take to rehab that portion of the building."
Donges said the status of the request is it will be reviewed at the May 19, meeting of the Design and Review Board.
"We get together once a month to go over any applications within the district, to approve them or not approve them," he said. "Now that she has submitted it within a two-week time period of the cutoff date, then we will review it at the May meeting."