Wednesday, January 19, 2005

When News Breaks... | by Teds

Another Beloved ND Relic Collapses Before Everyone's Eyes

The remainder of the Gateway complex collapsed onto the roof of CJ's PubSouth Bend, IN - They say that sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you. And sometimes, the bar just gets eaten by a six-story apartment building instead.

The old Gateway apartment complex has been under demolition for about a week, but Wednesday afternoon the remainder of the six-story building collapsed on CJ’s Pub on North Michigan Street.

Crews from Warner and Sons of Osceola had been tearing down the complex, now owned by Memorial Health System, when the unexpected collapse occurred.

A cook, a waitress and a bartender were inside the pub when the Gateway building collapsed. They escaped unhurt, although barkeep Kell Varnsen was understandably shaken up by the incident.

"It's enough to make one wax nostalgic for the days when the University and local authorities conspired to thwart student-loved hangouts by simply taking their licenses away and shutting them down," Varnsen sighed.

"Dropping entire buildings on them just seems, well, a little too 'on the nose' for my tastes."

Rick Medick, the owner of CJ’s Pub, says, “I was just walking into the building, so I missed the whole collapse by about 10 seconds. It sounded like a bomb going off. Truth be told, I haven't heard a racket like that since ND's old Director of Football Operations got stiffed on Secretary's Day."

The wrecking crew is working to stabilize the rubble and pull debris off of CJ’s Pub. Utility crews have also been working on the situation.

Crew foreman Art Vandelay brushed off the magnitude of the job ahead.

"We just finished up a long-term project over at the Notre Dame football offices. Digging out from under six stories worth of heavy brick and construction debris is gonna be a breeze compared to that."

Unfortunately, Medick says there is serious structural damage to the pub.

Memorial Health System owns the building and property. The hospital issued a statement saying they are thankful no one was injured in the collapse. “We will be working closely with our contractor and their insurance company to investigate the cause and identify next steps to restore the damaged pub and proceed with the removal of debris. Don't worry -- Ricky Joe should be back singing the Rodeo Song before you know it."

"In the meantime, Legends is just a hop, skip and a jump away from CJ's, and we hear from reputable sources that it's 'where legends are made'. Not to mention chicken wings, and $2.00 margaritas on 'Fiesta Thursdays'. Seriously, though, check it out."

The hospital has plans to turn the property into a parking lot. Rumor has it that the lot is poised to become the University's new Green Field for home football games. "Sure, it's a little far from campus, " said Bill Kirk, Notre Dame's VP for Residence Life, "but tailgating deserves its own special place on gameday. Preferably in another county, but this is a good first step."