Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tarpon Springs to E Tarpon Avenue property owner: Pay $107,570 for demolition

The city of Tarpon Springs razed this store at 144 E Tarpon Ave. The historic property was built in 1906 by Granville E. Noblit Sr., one of the city’s founding fathers, but it had fallen into disrepair.

Fleischman Garcia Architects

The city of Tarpon Springs razed this store at 144 E Tarpon Ave. The historic property was built in 1906 by Granville E. Noblit Sr., one of the city’s founding fathers, but it had fallen into disrepair.

TARPON SPRINGS — The lot at 144 E Tarpon Ave. has sat empty since June, a gaping hole in a block of businesses along the city's main drag.

After months of negotiation with the owner, the city demolished the historic building that stood there last summer, fearful that the dilapidated, top-heavy structure could tumble onto passers-by.

The city billed owner Frank Forbes for the demolition, but Forbes hasn't paid the $107,570 and now the city is suing him, city officials said Monday.

"We went to great lengths … to have them come and propose some sort of payment plan," said City Attorney Jim Yacavone.

The building was built in 1906 by one of the city's first settlers, Granville E. Noblit Sr., who ran a hardware store there. Forbes lived and ran a used furniture store there after he bought the building in the early 1980s.

Over time, the building fell into disrepair. By the time it was condemned, the floors had deteriorated, the walls were partially collapsed and rainwater poured through holes in the ceiling.

Neither Forbes nor his daughter, Toni, could be reached for comment Monday. But the elder Forbes said last year that he was in the process of hiring a contractor to demolish the building when city commissioners passed a six-month moratorium to evaluate its historic significance.

In March 2008, commissioners designated the site a "traditional cultural property," meaning it was deemed integral to the city's cultural identity. The designation allows stricter guidelines for rebuilding. Commissioners gave the same designation to neighboring 138 E Tarpon Ave., also owned by Forbes and also demolished.

Two months later, the city issued a demolition order, which Forbes did not comply with, Yacavone said.

The demolition of the two buildings was tricky because the west wall of 138 E Tarpon Ave. was connected to Menzer's Antiques next door. The project required roof repairs to Menzer's, dealing with asbestos, a regrading of the land and the installation of a fence to keep out trespassers.

For months, Yacavone and Toni Forbes corresponded about the property (valued at $161,000 on the county tax rolls), but Forbes never worked out an arrangement with the city, Yacavone said.

Paul Menzer, who owns Menzer's Antiques, said he'd much rather have an empty lot than a condemned building next door. But he'd like to see the property developed.

"The taxpayers have footed that bill," Menzer said. "How long will it take for them to get the money from the property owner or seize the property … and create something there to justify the expense?"

Rita Farlow can be reached at or (727) 445-4162.

Tarpon Springs to E Tarpon Avenue property owner: Pay $107,570 for demolition 03/09/09 [Last modified: Monday, March 9, 2009 11:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Fifth worker from TECO molten slag accident dies

    Public Safety

    The June 29 accident at the Tampa Electric Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach claimed a fifth life on Thursday.

    A fifth worker died following a June 29 accident at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. Anthony Perez, 56, an employee of BRACE Industrial Group, died Thursday. [LUIS SANTANA   |   TIMES]
  2. Review: 'Midnight, Texas' overloads on supernatural, lacks luster


    There is a cemetery full of great supernatural shows out there. Unfortunately, Midnight, Texas isn't one of them.

    Parisa Fitz-Henley, center, and Francois Arnaud in Midnight, Texas.
  3. Ready to go it alone? Tips for easing into solo travel


    Since 2012, Kristin Addis has been traveling the world. More often than not, she's solo.

    Travel author Kristin Addis takes soloness to another level at Dead Horse State Park in Utah. Before you book an international trip, try starting small to test the waters.
  4. O.J. Simpson makes case for his freedom on live TV


    LOVELOCK, Nev. — A gray-haired O.J. Simpson went before a Nevada parole board Thursday to plead for release after more than eight years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel room heist, making his case in a nationally televised hearing that reflected America's enduring fascination with the former football star.

    Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson appears via video for his parole hearing at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday.  Simpson was convicted in 2008 of enlisting some men he barely knew, including two who had guns, to retrieve from two sports collectibles sellers some items that Simpson said were stolen from him a decade earlier. [Lovelock Correctional Center via AP]
  5. Girl says her mom asked for forgiveness before stabbing her


    ATLANTA — Everyone was asleep when Isabel Martinez began stabbing her children and then fatally stabbed her husband as he tried seek help, her daughter told a child welfare caseworker.

    In a  July 7 file photo, Isabel Martinez gestures towards news cameras during her first court appearance, in Lawrenceville , Ga. Martinez is charged with killing four of her children and their father. [AP Photo/John Bazemore, File]