Chainlink fence blocks homeless from camping at old City Hall

The unofficial Tent City at old City Hall is no more.

FENCE ONEA chainlink fence now surrounds the property of the old City Hall at the northwest corner of Olive Avenue and Banyan Boulevard, effectively displacing about a dozen homeless people who had been living under the building’s overhang.

City crews erected the fence, which is covered in green, last week as part of the city’s plans to prepare the site for demolition.

There is no demolition date and the city doesn’t even have a contract yet with a developer. But city officials wanted to get a head start on preparing the site for its new owner, so they erected the fence, said spokesman Elliot Cohen.

Cohen said the city is close to an agreement with a developer. Navarro Lowrey has been negotiating with the city for the rights to the property.

Once an agreement is reached, the five-story building will be torn down and a new hotel will be built in its place.

Old City Hall has been vacant since 2009 when the city government headquarters moved around the corner to the 400 block of Clematis Street. In March, homeless people started erectinFENCE 2g tents around the building.

Most tents disappeared after complaints from residents and from St. Ann’s church, but a few holdouts remained as of last month. No one is on the site now.

The building’s design offered a unique perk: The top floor juts out 15 feet from the lower floors in all directions — a design statement by architect John Marion, who drew up plans for the building before it opened in 1980.

But the overhang also offers protection from the sun and rain, something enjoyed by city officials and residents who used the building for nearly 30 years and by homeless people in the past year.

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