George’s Games building scheduled to be leveled by March

PAWTUCKET – A tentative schedule developed by city officials has the demolition of the former George’s Games and Music building, 101 Main St. across from Slater Mill, happening by the end of February.

The property is part of the Apex properties previously purchased by the city and targeted for a future redevelopment project on the rapidly reshaping riverfront. It also previously housed the Sawyer School.

Due to significant damage from recent storms, environmental testing, and usage by police and fire for training exercises, the building is considered structurally unsound.

At the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency’s June 29 meeting last year, the board approved beginning the request for proposal process for demolition, but due to the status of the roof, an environmental assessment was deemed necessary before the process could start.

The city has been informed by the environmental consultant, Fuss & O’Neill, that they will finish and submit the asbestos and abatement plan to the Rhode Island Department of Health by the end of this week. Based on the plan for a January 13th submission, a tentative demolition schedule is as follows:

• Jan. 13 – Submission of asbestos and abatement plan to Rhode Island Department of Health. The approval and review process typically takes 10 business days.

• Jan. 20 – Submissions for bids on demolition would open.

• Jan. 26 – Rhode Island Department of Health approves the plan.

• Feb. 7 – Submissions for bids on demolition close.

• Feb. 14, – Contract awarded.

• Demolition is set to begin end of February.

This is a tentative schedule, as certain elements of the process may fluctuate.

In the meantime, the Department of Public Works and fire and police will begin taking measures to prepare the building for demolition, such as boarding up windows, as soon as this week.

The City Council in 2015 granted a zone change for George’s Games placing it in the overarching Riverfront Commons District to allow then-owner Andrew Gates to market it in a more unified way. Former owner George Thurber, who had long offered billiard tables and other recreation table and arcade games, had sold the property to Gates and Apex in April of that year.

In 2018, The Breeze reported that there had been citations for 11 code violations at the George’s Games building over the years, a portion of nearly 50 violations at all parcels making up the Apex properties, going back to before Gates owned them.

As part of a previous five-year note on the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency’s Christmas Eve purchase of the Apex properties in 2021, Apex has a year and a half lease-back on the Apex property itself and a three-year lease-back on its tire center, located across from George’s Games and diagonally across from Apex.

The goal, according to officials, is to get the entire area prepared for future redevelopment, but plans are in the very preliminary stages.

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