ALBERT LEA (AP) -- Eight insurance companies notified city officials they will seek a court order to block the demolition of the Farmland Foods plant damaged by fire last July.
The companies say the pork-processing facility can be rebuilt, while city officials and Farmland want the structure torn down to make way for something new.
The city will ask the court not to let the insurance companies intervene. "The insurance companies have no standing. They have no right to intervene," City Manager Paul Sparks said Thursday.
City officials say the building is too badly damaged, well over the 50 percent threshold needed to meet state guidelines on demolition orders. Structures that weren't actually damaged in the fire are either contaminated or can't be used, they say.
Farmland has been saying for months that negotiations with insurance companies are keeping them from deciding whether to rebuild in Albert Lea or halt operations in the city. The company employed 500 people at the Albert Lea plant before the fire.
Sparks said he wants a resolution on the matter because the buildings are dangerous and continue to collapse. "Curiosity could be a problem," he said.
To entice Farmland to stay in Albert Lea, the city council last November offered to sell a 32-acre industrial park site to replace the company's current 40-acre site, which the city would take over and clean up.
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