The city continued demolition today on the Riviera Hotel, an abandoned bar and rooming house at the corner of 6th and Kelker that rapidly deteriorated after a 2010 fire and recent series of collapses.
Dave Patton, codes administrator for the city, said the demolition work was bid out to Swatara Township-based Arney Brothers, Inc., for $24,549.
Demolition began on Monday and will probably take a couple of weeks, he said.
Patton also said the owners of the Riviera, Marion and Diana Nicklow of Hershey, have agreed in court to a plan to pay back the city for demolition costs.
The demolition concludes a troubled run for the Riviera, a three-story yellow brick building with faded, blue-gray paint on the window trim and the first-floor façade.
County property records show that the Nicklows purchased the building in March 1999 for $80,000.
They filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009, after defaulting on a business line of credit for the Riviera and a mortgage on a separate property, according to court records.
In June 2005, the Patriot-News reported that a man and a woman were found dead in a room there after another resident noticed a foul odor. Charles Kellar, then the city’s police chief, told the paper it appeared the woman had died weeks before the man.
More recently, Patton recalled discovering a homeless man living on the second floor, who appeared to have gained access via a fire escape. The building was condemned in May 2010 after a fire, Patton said.
A Google Earth satellite photo, dated Sept. 6, 2013, shows a gaping hole in the roof of the building, the sole standing structure on its side of the 1700-block of N. 6th Street. Most of the surrounding blocks, once home to rows of attached buildings, are also largely barren, emptied of their Victorian-era structures.
Patton, who said he sought bids for demolition when the north wall began to appear increasingly unsound, recalled witnessing the damage last summer after a further collapse of the roof into the basement.
“It looked like a meteor just came down through the roof,” he said.
The Nicklows have pled guilty to three property code citations so far, Patton said.
“It’s been a long journey with this structure and owner,” he later added, “but fortunately we are nearing the end.”