Lawsuit leads to demolition of building near Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital

City of Memphis lawsuit leads to downtown building being demolished

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Rubble and debris are all that’s left of a building at 882 Poplar Avenue, after a demolition crew tore it down Wednesday.

It’s the result of a lawsuit filed by the City of Memphis under the Neighborhood Preservation Act. The state law allows residents to bring suits against their neighbors who fail to maintain abandoned properties.

"It just happens to be right across the street from the emergency room entrance at Le Bonheur and it's been vacant for as long as I can remember driving past it,” said Kyle Veazey, mayor’s deputy chief operating officer.

Kyle Veazey, Deputy Chief Operating Officer for the mayor’s office, says the city partnered with The University of Memphis School of Law’s Neighborhood Preservation Clinic, where third-year law students file lawsuits in environmental court against blighted properties on behalf of the city of Memphis

"It's great for the city because we get this added capacity to help us with blight, but it's also great for the law students too because they get real life experience while they're still in law school,” said Veazey.

According the Shelby County's Court database, the property's owner was cited on Sept. 12 for having a "dangerous and neglected building."

The court ordered the building to be destroyed.

WMC Action News 5 spoke with the owner in person Wednesday. He said he owned the property for 35 years.

It was previously a dentist office and daycare.

He says he put thousands of dollars into the property, fixing the roof and plumbing, but vandals kept breaking in.

He said he had hoped to lease the property beginning of October. However, last week’s court order changed that.

The owner is due back in court on Oct. 21.

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