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St. Joe's hospital demolition underway

A section of the demolished St. Joseph's Hospital in Ottumwa. (Chris Arbino/KTVO)

The final step to completely removing the old St. Joseph’s Hospital in Ottumwa is officially underway.

On Tuesday, July 11, a crane equipped with a 6,000-pound weight started demolishing the top three floors of the old structure.

The crane operator said that after he takes out those floors of the vacant building, an excavator will take down the remaining floors.

The hospital is being removed to make way for new apartments and townhomes that are being developed by Blackbird Investments out of Des Moines.

The demolition of the hospital has been a controversial subject over the past few months.

Last August, Blackbird Investments president Justin Doyle told the Ottumwa City Council that it was not economically feasible to build the apartments within the existing structure.

Doyle told KTVO after that meeting that the homes would be sold for roughly $200,000 each, and apartments would range from $800 to $1,600 per month.

We reached out to Blackbird Investment’s Director of Marketing Rachel Wegmann Wednesday afternoon to confirm the project's timeline.

She told us that demolition should be completed by September of this year, construction should start early next spring, and apartments and homes should be available to move in to by Summer 2019.

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