BUILDING MUST COME DOWN AFTER MOODY ROOF COLLAPSE

Waltham Fire Department Ladder asseses the damage at 220-226 Moody St. after a section of the roof collapsed. Peter Lobo Photo.

The Moody Street Bridge was closed Monday morning after a large section of roof at a long vacant building collapsed. But is it a blessing in disguise?

Collapsed roof at 220-226 Moody Street. Waltham Fire Department Photo.The damage to 220-226 Moody Street has put so much stress on the facade that the building needs to be demolished, said Deputy Richard Grant of Waltham Fire.

“The front of the building is bowing out,” added Chief Tom MacInnis, meaning it could collapse.

The chief said the eastern part of Moody Street in front of the building will remain closed until demolition is complete.

Around 9:05 a.m., an alert Waltham Police officer noticed the front door of the former Construction Site retail store was shattered. 

Vandalism was initially suspected, but further investigation revealed that the center of the roof inside had collapsed.

WFD’s Ladder 2 responded, revealing a caved-in section of roof roughly 20 feet by 20 feet. 

“Weather has taken its toll,” Deputy Grant said. The building has been vacant for seven years.

Debris from the collapse littered the sidewalk, which was closed off with barricades and caution tape.

Micheal Colomba with Mayor Jeannette McCarthy at the 2016 Waltham Hero Awards CeremonyThe building owner, local entrepreneur Michael Colomba (Brelundi), is already working to line up the demolition.

“The building was going to be demolished anyway,” he said.

A licensed crane operator, Colomba said he would tear it down himself if demo crews fail to respond quickly enough.

He bought the property in 2015, with ambitious plans to develop a 65-room hotel at the location.

Although he pledged millions in improvements to run-down areas nearby, he struggled to cut through city red tape that slowed the project down. “It makes no sense,” he said Monday.

220-226 Moody was uninsured because of the high cost of insuring a vacant building that was the site of an arson fire in 2015, Colomba said.

As of last year, he had already invested $3 million in the $15 million project, including hotel plans, attorney fees and city taxes.

Currently he’s awaiting approval of an environmental report he submitted.

Colomba wants to make the site safe immediately, but is hopeful that his hotel project can now finally move forward.

“We hope the city will take this as a catalyst to speed things up,” he said.