Lawsuit halts plan to demolish Versailles Center

gkocher1@herald-leader.comNovember 20, 2013 

The plans to demolish Versailles Center have come to a halt.

Versailles City Council had planned at its Tuesday meeting to award a bid for demolition of the abandoned shopping center. But IBP 1 LLC, a corporation affiliated with BPI Bank — which took over the shopping center property in foreclosure — filed suit seeking a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction to prevent the city from tearing down the center.

As a result, the city council will take no action until the matter has been resolved in Woodford Circuit Court. A hearing date has not yet been set.

IBP alleges in court documents that it "has maintained" the center and "attempted to market it, having entered into two sales contracts for $1.4 million ... One of the sales contracts remains pending."

The suit alleges that Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott and some city council members "gave assurances and representations that the city would work with IBP and ... would seek to delay the demolition process to allow IBP to sell the property."

Traugott said Wednesday that he and the city have done nothing to mislead representatives of IBP LLC.

Versailles Center, north of U.S. 60 and the U.S. 60 Bypass, was once home to Versailles Flea and Antique Mall, RadioShack, Sweet Potatoes restaurant, Slone's Market, Rite Aid Drugs, Rivard Fine Jewelry and other retailers.

Over the last decade, as stores left the center, the property became a source of embarrassment to city officials. There are no stores there now.

There were plans to turn the strip mall into a development with multistory, mixed-use buildings containing both shopping and residential spaces. None of it came to pass.

The city council voted in October to advertise for bids for the center's demolition. That action was taken after Building and Zoning Inspector Paul Noel Jr. issued a "condemnation and demolition" order in August.

Traugott said the city council had planned to award the demolition to Diversified Demolition of Lexington, which submitted a bid of $268,000.

The city of Versailles had planned to pay for the demolition. Whatever the city paid would be recouped through a lien on the property. If the lien was not paid, the city would sell the property at a master commissioner's sale.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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