Old YMCA building

The City Council voted to move forward with demolition of the former YMCA at 722 Nebraska St. Monday. But city staff say a developer is continuing to look for investors to complete a project that will save the structure. 

Nick Hytrek, Sioux City Journal file

SIOUX CITY | Sioux City is moving ahead with the process to demolish the former YMCA on Nebraska Street, although city staff say plans to save the structure are by no means dead yet. 

The Sioux City Council voted 5-0 Monday to demolish the red-tagged building, which has sat vacant since the Siouxland YMCA sold it in 2009 and currently languishes under a host of code violations. 

The vote comes less than five months after Residential Equity Partners, the California-based entity that owns the property, pitched a $3.3 million plan to renovate the building into an office structure during a July demolition hearing. That hearing had ended in the council's deferring a decision on demolition until Monday's meeting. 

Code enforcement manager Darrel Bullock said Monday that he had spoken with the owner, who was unable to attend Monday's meeting, and that he wanted more time to continue to find investors for the project.

Bullock said if the city proceeds with the demolition process, the actual demolition would likely be a year out unless conditions worsen, giving time for the current building owners to continue working toward their goal. 

"This in no way stops that project," he said. "The structure's still intact at this point, and he can move forward with the renovations and make it a usable structure again." 

But, Bullock said, the building continues to be a hazard. It includes open stairways and elevator shafts and asbestos that becomes airborne when people walk inside. The city has also responded to break-ins at the structure.

"Just because it's structurally sound doesn't mean it isn't unsafe," he said.

Bullock said he hopes the structure will be redeveloped, and that demolition could come at a high cost to the city -- between $100,000 and $200,000. 

The more than 60-year-old building ceased to be the home of the Siouxland YMCA in 2009, when the Y moved across the river to the current Norm Waitt Sr. building. 

The structure has changed hands twice since then, with conditions going downhill following gutting work that landed a former owner in prison for violation of asbestos removal standards.

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