It’s Not the Buildings Fault

Since I completed my thesis involving the Richmond Gas Company building I have kept a watchful eye on developments surrounding the building.  When I began my thesis the building was at crossroads.  There was a large faction ready to demolish the building considering it an eyesore and hazard.  The was another prominent but smaller contingency trying to save the building and make it useful once again.  As the thesis progressed it seemed as though the tide was slowly turning and there was a a reasonable chance the building would not be demolished.  The community of Richmond, along with a few people with some say, enjoyed the spotlight I put on the building through my thesis and were at least willing to listen.  And as of today, the building still stands, just as it did when I first happened upon it 9 months ago.  But that may be about to change, and not for the better.

On Monday I received an email from a gentleman who took keen interest in my project since his father worked in the building.  The email linked to a newstory about a tragedy at the building.  You can find the story here.  A teenager fell through the building’s roof and was in critical condition after being airlifted to the hospital.  And not surprisingly, the chorus for the building’s demolition reached a crescendo on Monday afternoon.  People cited the unsafe conditions of the building, how the city failed to properly keep out trespassers, and how it was only a matter of time before something like this happened.

I can vouch for the ease of getting in the building.  I spent half a day in the building getting photos and surveying the building to use for my thesis.  The building is in obvious disrepair and I was extremely cautious deciding where I stepped while in the building.  Here are some photos to illustrate the condition of the building.  Note the condition of the roof.  Nobody should have even considered stepping on it.

Main Space of Richmond Gas Company Building

Main Space of Richmond Gas Company Building

Conditions inside building

Conditions inside building

The city is the one who allowed the building to fall in disrepair and failed to properly secure it, as to make sure no one was able to get in the building.  And now a teenager who appears to have made a very bad decision (I don’t have any updates to the story) is critically injured but somehow its the building’s fault.  Maybe its the cynic in me, but I think the city was waiting for something like this to happen so they had good reason to not only demolish the building, but to hasten the process.  The building needs work, I know that as well as anybody, but its salvageable.  Unfortunately this incident has probably brought us to the beginning of the end for the Richmond Gas Company building.  I’ll keep my ears tuned in as ever, because I can’t let my first attempt to save a building end like this.

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