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Building collapses on CJ’s Pub

Kate Antonacci | Thursday, January 20, 2005

Three employees of CJ’s Pub CJ’s Pub on North Michigan Street were unharmed Wednesday afternoon when demolition on the Gateway apartment complex next door went wrong, causing part of the six-story building to collapse onto the roof of the pub.Though CJ’s has long been a popular restaurant and bar for Notre Dame students, only a cook, waitress and bartender were inside at the time of the collapse.”We’d been working with a demolition company on [the building] and this was kind of a surprise this afternoon,” said Ruth Linster, media relations manager forMemorial Hospital and Health Systems, which owned Gateway and hired Warner and Sons, Inc. of Elkhart to tear down the building.”I had gone by about five minutes before this thing happened and everything looked like it was going smoothly,” she said. “I don’t know the total damage, but I understand that CJ’s is not functioning right now. We’re looking into it and trying to figure out what happened with that demolition crew.”Rick Medick, owner of CJ’s Pub, spoke with WNDU after the accident.”It sounded like a bomb was going off,” he said. “I was just walking into the building. I missed the whole collapse by about 10 seconds.”The Observer was unable to reach Medick on Wednesday.Following the accident, a crew began clearing the rubble and removing excess debris. The total damage will be evaluated once the cause of the collapse is determined, Linster said.Memorial Hospital released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying that they will be working with a contractor and insurance company to investigate the accident and determine how to best restore CJ’s, Linster said.Memorial Health System was demolishing the complex with the intention of putting new buildings up in the space in the future.”It had been a hotel and apartment building years ago. Sometime in the 80s it was converted into office space,” Linster said. “We’ve owned it for the past few years and there was just too much that needed to be done to rehab it for our uses so we’d been planning on taking it down and temporarily using it as a parking lot.”It was bizarre because we had just had a news conference about a different building we were going to put up and we knew this was coming down at the same time, but not in the way we did. “I would imagine that this has an effect on students.”