SOUTH BEND -- The St. Joseph County Public Library board of trustees on Monday awarded a contract for demolition of the former Avon Theater and two other nearby buildings.
The contract was awarded to Jackson Demolition Services of Rochester. The company will be paid $135,000 to demolish the former movie house, at 307-309 S. Michigan St., and the former Catholic bishop's office and another vacant storefront, both along Wayne Street.
The two Wayne Street buildings have back walls adjacent to the Avon.
The Historic Preservation Commission had sought historic landmark status for the Avon, which showed its last film in the 1970s. The South Bend Common Council refused to grant historic status, allowing the library to move ahead with demolition.
The vacant land will be used as temporary parking for the library for the next few years, and perhaps used in the future for a proposed new Main Library.
The library paid to have decorative terra cotta tiles removed from the front of the old theater and placed in storage for possible reuse later.
Demolition is expected to begin in early to mid-December and be complete in about 30 days.
The building at the southwest corner of Michigan and Wayne streets will remain. Adele DeRosa Ciao, the owner of Ciao's Italian Ristorante, is leasing the corner building from the library, and plans to open a bakery and restaurant there named Luna Moona. Library administrators said Ciao hasn't told them an opening date.