Mexico City takes over collapse site for earthquake memorial

FILE - In this Oct. 31, 2017 file photo, the Spanish phrase "Be strong Mexico!" is written next to a skeleton figure at a small altar across the street from the remains of Alvaro Obregon 286, where many were killed when the seven-story office building collapsed in the Sept. earthquake in Mexico City. The city government is taking ownership of the lot where the building collapsed in September's deadly earthquake, clearing the way for a planned park memorializing victims of the disaster. Forty-nine people died in the building when it collapsed Sept. 19. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)
FILE - This Sept. 23, 2017 file photo shows the site of the earthquake-collapsed office building on Alvaro Obregon Avenue in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City. The city government is taking ownership of the lot where the seven-story office building collapsed in September's deadly earthquake, clearing the way for a planned park memorializing victims of the disaster. Forty-nine people died in the building when it collapsed Sept. 19. (AP Photo/Miguel Tovar, File)

MEXICO CITY — Mexico City took ownership on Tuesday of a lot where a seven-story office building collapsed in September's deadly earthquake, clearing the way for a planned park memorializing victims of the disaster.

Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera signed a decree expropriating the 8,400-square-foot (780-square-meter) parcel at 286 Alvaro Obregon Ave., on the border between the Roma Norte and Condesa neighborhoods.

The city government said in a statement that it will pay compensation and that the property owner agreed to the move and is not challenging the expropriation.

Forty-nine people died in the building when it collapsed Sept. 19. Rescuers worked around the clock at the scene for two weeks searching for survivors.

In all, the magnitude 7.1 quake killed 228 people in Mexico City and 141 in nearby states.

Also Tuesday, authorities announced that the legal representative of a construction company was arrested in connection with another building that partially collapsed in the earthquake, killing two women.

The Mexico City prosecutor's office said in a statement that the unidentified 48-year-old man was detained in the neighboring State of Mexico.

He is being held on suspicion of homicide, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, and of legal responsibility for the collapse, punishable by up to 6½ years.

The newspaper El Universal reported that the suspect allegedly secured permits for construction of the building at 56 Zapata St., in the Benito Juarez borough.

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