PHOTO BY TED BEILER/PIGEONS VIEW PHOTOGRAPHY Drone photographs taken by Ted Beiler’s Pigeons View Photography show some of the work that has taken place at the Hotel Putnam, including the removal of concrete and wood flooring on the ground floor, and the removal of roofs, windows and windowsills. The photo, taken this summer, appears to show tracks where heavy equipment was driven through an opening made in a wall, and a post in that opening.

DeLand city officials confirmed that the owner of the Hotel Putnam, Axia Partners, is searching for a demolition company to take down the 100-year-old building.

An engineering report requested by the City of DeLand once interior demolition was finished showed the historic hotel’s structural integrity is compromised, and at least part of the building is subject to collapse. 

Read more: Engineers say Putnam Hotel in danger of collapse

City staff are on standby to fast-track a permit for full demolition, and expect an application for that permit to come in later this week or next week, according to Community Development Director Rick Werbiskis.

If Axia Partners does not submit a demolition permit to take down the building, the city could step in and handle the demolition itself, charging Axia for the cost, but city officials don’t expect it will come to that.

At the City Commission’s Jan. 3 meeting, DeLand city commissioners asked, once the building is gone, what could be built in its place.

While the lot is within the city’s historic preservation district and any project would be subject to design guidance from the Historic Preservation Board, it would functionally be “just a vacant lot,” City Attorney Darren Elkind told the City Commission Jan. 3.

The parcel the Putnam sits on, at 225 W. New York Ave., is zoned C-2A, or Downtown Commercial. Primary uses for the zoning classification include hotels, medical offices, craft food and beverage producers, furniture stores, convenience stores without gasoline pumps, coffee shops and more.

Residences, including apartments, may be allowed in C-2A, as a “conditional” use. Axia could also request rezoning to a PUD, or planned-unit development, to build something different from what the C-2A category allows.

“There will be some community pressure to build something that pays homage to what was there, but there’s nothing legally binding,” Mayor Chris Cloudman said. 

Axia Partners Managing Partner Jeremy Long told The Beacon his company is committed to building a “meaningful” project on the site, and at least one city commissioner is hopeful for something more than just another commercial development.

“Obviously it’s not going to be what it was,” City Commissioner Kevin Reid said, “but there’s also some barriers in there where it’s not necessarily going to be a mattress store or another Dollar General or like store.”



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