It’s been more than two years since a faulty wall-mounted heater sparked a blaze in room 11 of the Craig Motel, sparking a fire that destroyed almost half of the site.
Since the Oct. 21, 2009, fire, little has been done to the property at 894 Yampa Ave.
Dave Costa, Craig city director of community development, said the city has been patient with the motel owner, Qi Lin Wu, because it was believed he intended to rehab the property.
“We’re affording the gentleman some time to seek some financing to rehabilitate the motel,” Costa said. “Based on the economic hard times, he has had a little difficulty with his insurance coverage and collecting on the fire damage.
“Rather than have him demo the whole thing and have a vacant site there, we’re trying to be a good neighbor and allow him to find some financing.”
But Wu, who has relocated his family to Cortez, said he has received an insurance settlement.
“It is not enough to replace (the motel),” Wu said. “I don’t know what I am going to do. I don’t have enough money.”
Costa said he has not spoken to Wu for several weeks and was unaware the motel owner had received his insurance settlement.
However, since Wu has stated the settlement is not enough to rehab the motel site, Costa said he might have to encourage the site owner to take some type of action when construction season picks up.
“Come next spring, if he doesn’t do anything, he will receive a notice from me to either rehab or raze the building,” Costa said.
If Wu does not act within the city’s timeline, Costa said a lien can be placed against the property and the city will take action.
“I really hate to get in the middle of this because I really don’t have money in the budget to raze that building,” Costa said.
Allie Craig owns the duplex next door to the Craig Motel site. She said the two-year grace period has gone on long enough and she would prefer to see the city take action sooner than next spring.
“I think it’s horrible looking and I would like to see anything there but a burnt down motel,” Craig said. “If they rebuild it, that’s fine. If they tear it down, even better.”
Craig said her home has been on the market since the blaze occurred and she would prefer to see the damaged buildings leveled and a small park take its place.
“Our biggest problem is that our property is worth next to nothing because of the motel,” Craig said. “We’ve had prospective buyers view my building, but they have all raised concerns about the motel.”
Craig Mayor Terry Carwile said he would like to see the issue of the motel site remedied. He is confident, given the time since the fire, the issue will come before council members in the future.
“The bottom line for me is it is on my radar,” Carwile said. “Once we have solid information on what the owners intend to do, we’ll have a conversation to see if we need to take care of the motel ourselves.”
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