Saratoga Springs

Saratoga building to be demolished

Mio Posto restaurant closed since fire on Thanksgiving Day
The entrance to Mio Posto in Saratoga Springs is seen on Wednesday.
The entrance to Mio Posto in Saratoga Springs is seen on Wednesday.

The Putnam Street building where a Thanksgiving morning fire started will soon become the second building torn down in the wake of the blaze.

Code Enforcer Dan Cogan said the city recently awarded an emergency demolition permit to the owner of the Mio Posto site at 68 Putnam St., which suffered heavy damage in the fire that also displaced seven Caroline Street apartment tenants, forced three establishments to temporarily close and left more than 50 restaurant workers without work for the holidays.

The fire was caused by a faulty extension cord in a storage area at the back of Mio Posto, an Italian restaurant, and burned throughout before spreading to adjacent buildings, fire officials determined.

“It’s dangerous to enter,” Cogan said. “The roof is burnt through, it’s structurally unsound — it will be removed.”
Jackson Demolition of Schenectady was contracted for the work, which will begin once approvals from the state Department of Labor needed to treat the entire building as an asbestos site are granted, Cogan said.

“You can’t test for asbestos with a building that’s caved in like that,” he explained.

A similar approval process slowed the razing of 26 Caroline St., an 1870s-era, 6,500-square-foot commercial building that was severely damaged by the fire. That demolition was delayed by concerns that it might harm two adjacent buildings — concerns not present for the razing of the much smaller, one-story building at 68 Putnam St., Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen said.

The building does not share walls with neighboring establishments Hamlet & Ghost and The Ice House, he said. He said he expects the building to be demolished “in the very near future.”

“It’s not going to endanger the stability of adjacent buildings, but it does need to come down,” he said.
And unlike the building at 26 Caroline St., which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s not part of any historic district and was built sometime around 1948, said Samantha Bosshart, executive director of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation. The building is in the city’s architectural review district, which means any future construction there would need the approval of the city’s Design Review Commission.

Brendan Dillon, co-owner of Hamlet & Ghost, said the site might best serve as an extension of either his business or The Ice House.

“I don’t know if we’re going to see someone rebuild there, or if it’s just going to be sitting as an empty lot,” he said. “It’s kind of a weird lot.”

Dillon said his restaurant and bar will reopen soon. “If not next week, the week after,” he said.

Danny Urschel, owner and chef of Mio Posto, could not be reached Wednesday but has said he plans to reopen elsewhere.

Reach Gazette reporter Ned Campbell at 395-3142, [email protected] or @nedcampbell on Twitter.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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