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Former Amen’s Liquor building has partial collapse

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 9:32 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 13, 2021 at 9:36 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Neighbors who live near 12th and Belmont Streets were met with a startling sight Tuesday morning.

Thankfully no one was hurt when the former Amen’s Liquor building that’s 130 years old, partially collapsed unexpectedly.

A member of the Lincoln Historical Preservation Committee said the building, built in the 1890s, is up there as one of the older buildings in the Capital City. Similar to some of the original buildings in the Railyard.

Just after 10:20 a.m. surveillance video from outside SJ’s Smoke Shop captured the building next door partially collapsing.

“I got a call from ADT which is our security system telling me there’s been a burglary behind the store and the back door has been busted open,” said owner SJ Ali.

It turns out, it wasn’t a burglary or a busted open door, it was the collapse that set off the alarm. He said thankfully nothing in his shop, which is directly attached to the area that collapsed, was damaged but now he only has days instead of weeks to move out of his location.

“All of a sudden that happened and they tell us we gotta leave as soon as possible and they gave us basically two days; they gave us a storage unit but this is my family business and I’m not trying to lose money on that and every day is a day for us,” Ali said.

Speedway Motors, who owns the property, tells 10/11 NOW the entire building has had a planned demolition date of Nov. 1 for years.

After engineers determined it couldn’t be saved due to safety concerns. They started moving tenants out two years ago and blocked off a portion of the sidewalk, where the collapse happened, six months ago.

“We basically just have to get the water and the sewer and the electrical, gas out and once that’s out it’ll come down pretty short order,” said Gary Varley with Land Excavating and Demolition, which is in charge of the demolition process.

That team said if all the prep work goes smoothly that the building could come down as early as this week.

Ali said they are able to move into another space, also owned by Speedway Motors.

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