By Drew Bollea

STOCKTON (CBS13) — Several businesses on Stockton’s famed Miracle Mile were forced to close their doors on Wednesday after the City put up danger notices.

Owners of nine fully functioning and thriving businesses on the 1800 block of Stockton’s Miracle Mile must find a new building to operate in.

“It’s very surreal, I feel bad man,” said Vito Casciaro of Empresso coffeehouse, “these are a lot of family-run businesses.”

Casciaro, along with at least eight other businesses on the block found notices to vacate on their doors Wednesday morning.

“We need to stop running the business. We need to be out by Friday,” said Casciaro.

The Stockton fire department says the building is dangerous and lacks fire safety precautions like sprinklers and proper exits.

City officials said they’ve spent five years working with the building owner to bring the property up to code. The building owner, Christopher Bennitt, had entered into an agreement with the city last year to bring the building into compliance. They city permit department says he has held up his end of the deal.

“He was negligent in his efforts to maintain the building’s safety,” said Matthew Duane with the Stockton Fire Department.

Now, a once-bustling block is filled with empty shop windows and “closed” signs.

“Takes away a lot of revenue,” said one man who lives near the Miracle Mile, “as long as they stay closed, worse it’s going to be for this block.”

Blindsided business owners are now left to look for a new place to operate.

“We’re hoping that we can remain a part of this community,” said Casciaro.

Bennitt nor his attorney returned calls for comment. It’s unclear when or if the business owners will be allowed back into the building.


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