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New demolition deadline looms for Fayetteville strip mall

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The strip mall at the corner of Owen Drive and Southern Avenue has been vacant and deteriorating since 2009. The strip mall at the corner of Owen Drive and Southern Avenue has been vacant and deteriorating since 2009.
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -

The owner of a dilapidated strip mall in Fayetteville has a new deadline to repair the building or tear it down.

In environmental court Tuesday, the judge told Bill Agapion he has until Sept. 30, or the city will be able to take its own action to tear down the strip mall.

The strip mall at the corner of Owen Drive and Southern Ave. was once home to the Palomino and South Beach night clubs. The main anchor space that once housed those clubs has been vacant since about 2009.

Because of high crime concerns, the city police department filed a nuisance abatement lawsuit in 2008 that prevented Agapion from continuing to operate a nightclub in the strip mall.

The anchor space has been vacant and deteriorating since then. The rest of the strip mall has several vacant spots, including a space recently vacated by a Family Dollar store. Two other tenants, Parker Pawn and Beauty Giant & Furniture, are planning to move out.

Because of the numerous building code violations, the city originally asked Agapion to sign-off on demolition. Agapion did not agree, so the city pursued criminal charges for the building code violations.

Agapion requested more time to find a buyer for the property who would remodel it. His final deadline was Tuesday. 

In the meantime, the city also pursued administrative action against Agapion. A city board deemed the building dangerous and also gave Agapion until September 30 to fix the problems.

Members of a community watch in the surrounding Massey Hill area say they have been waiting for this action for years.

"We need somebody to say time out, let's stop and work together to find a solution to this, which part of it and bringing this building down, putting something else, revitalization," George Butterfly said. "We've run into a roadblock here. This building is a blight on our community, it provokes or hides a lot of crime.

"It takes a lot of city resources that could be used for other things."

Community watch members think the lot will be more interesting to new investors if the building is torn down and there is a clean slate to work with.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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