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Blue Smoke BBQ faces wrecking ball soon

Blue Smoke BBQ closed after a fire last August and the building has sat vacant ever since. Alexandria City Council members say it’s a public health hazard that has to be repaired or removed. (Al Edenloff/Echo Press)

The clock is ticking on Blue Smoke BBQ.

The restaurant, located at 403 3rd Avenue East in Alexandria, was gutted by a fire last August and has been vacant ever since.

The city of Alexandria recently deemed the structure as an unsafe, unsanitary public health hazard. It wants the building razed and removed.

The city has tried several different ways to contact the owners, Galbraith Investments of Alexandria, but has not received any response, according to City Attorney Tom Jacobson who updated the city council on the abandoned building during its last meeting.

The council approved an order to notify the owners through printed public notices that they have until March 23 to respond or take corrective action on the building, or the city will take the next step and file a motion with the court to tear it down.

The city is still working with the owners’ insurance company to work out some kind of agreement to pay for the demotion work but the owners need to agree to it as well because the policy is in their name, said Jacobson.

The owners also have the option of contacting the city’s building inspector to obtain permits to fix up the building, although the repairs would be extensive.

The public notice about the building said it’s in the following condition: not weather tight; unprotected openings in the rear wall; part of the roof is no longer intact; the interior has extensive smoke and water damage; and the electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems are wet, rusty and burned.

The public notice also stated that the property is not kept secured even though it’s located in a high-traffic area near a school for elementary and middle school children, “thereby creating an attractive nuisance and endangering children and the general public.”

The notice said that all those conditions constitute a hazardous, inadequately maintained building that is “a hazard to public safety and health.”

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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