Water damage turns to ice damage at south side building

Burst pipes resulted in major water damage at the buildings at S. Calhoun and W. Rudisill.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) –  Earlier this month, the owner of the buildings at South Calhoun and West Rudisill filed a request with the Board of Zoning Appeals to tear down the buildings, and build a fast food drive through. Some in the neighborhood want to save the decades-old buildings, but worry recent damage at the site will make their fight even harder.

“What I observed was a large amount of frozen water,” Allen County Building Commissioner John Caywood said. “Basically icicles hanging from the second floor.”

Caywood got the call early Sunday that he’s all too familiar with this winter.

“I’m assuming since they vacated that structure the heat was turned off and the pipes likely froze and burst,” Caywood said.

Sunday morning gallons of water poured from the buildings at 3826 S. Calhoun St. Days later the damage was still visible in the form of immense icicles.

Caywood said the tenants moved out at the end of last year, but a Subway at the corner of Rudisill and Calhoun was still in business. For now it’s shut down.

“I was so mad when I drove by and saw [the damage],” neighbor Jane Casey said. “It just gives [the owners] another reason to say [let’s tear it down].”

Casey and a lot of her neighbors are fighting to keep those buildings at the corner even before the pipes burst. The buildings’ owner Mark Minnick wants to tear them down and build a combined Subway and Hardees drive through.

“The first reaction was those buildings are so cool I hated to see them be gone,” Casey said. “The other thing is the last thing we need there is a fast food drive through.”

Other neighbors have written letters to the Board of Zoning Appeals. In the request, Minnick writes the new site will include more parking and green space to add value to the neighborhood.

Other neighbors don’t have much of an opinion about what happens at the corner, but see both sides.

“If they think they can develop it, and make it into something more viable I’m fine with that,” neighbor Byron Thompson said.

Attempts to reach Minnick Wednesday night were unsuccessful. A City Spokesperson said Neighborhood Code Enforcement has filed a condemnation order on the Calhoun Street building.

Minnick’s request will be taken up at the BZA’s March 22 meeting.