AUGUSTA — Three buildings that city officials say are so structurally unsound they could collapse and injure someone, and a fourth they fear someone could fall into, might be declared dangerous by the city.

The proposal to deem the buildings dangerous would order the owners of the derelict buildings to demolish them within 60 days. If they don’t, the city could step in to demolish them, and bill the owners for the expense.

City officials say they’ve worked unsuccessfully for years with the building owners to try to get them to repair the structures.

One of them, at 118 Civic Center Drive, stands visibly at a major gateway into the city, across from a restaurant and between the entrances to the University of Maine at Augusta and the Augusta Civic Center.

City councilors are scheduled to hold public hearings and consider declaring the four buildings to be dangerous at their 6:30 p.m. meeting Thursday in the council chamber at the Augusta City Center.

Matt Nazar, the city’s development director, said the city has taken enforcement action against the owner of that building previously, but the blue building remains in place.

“The owner’s attorney indicated the building was going to be taken down,” Nazar said of 118 Civic Center Drive. “It never was.”

The building, according to city assessing records, is owned by Zi Qian Zhang, of Swansea, Massachusetts.

A dozen Chinese restaurants in Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island were owned by a Zi Qian Zhang, of Swansea, Massachusetts, according to previous news media reports and court records. In 2011 some of those restaurants were raided by immigration agents. In 2014 two Waterville women, Mei Ya Zhang and Mei Juan Zhang, who managed some of the restaurants in Maine, were sentenced on immigration, money laundering and tax fraud charges. Zi Qian Zhang is the uncle of those two women and was described by a federal authorities as the patriarch of the restaurant organization.

The building’s interior was damaged by a 2014 fire. There is evidence including empty beer cans, a mattress and a propane heater that someone was squatting at the home, and its foundation walls have collapsed into the basement, causing the structure to collapse.

Nazar said that building and two others are considered dangerous in part because their foundations or walls are so deteriorated they could collapse and possibly fall onto someone.

The fourth, at 79 Mount Vernon Ave., is a covered-over foundation, but the cap over the foundation has rotted to the point that someone could fall into it and be injured, Nazar said. The cap was placed on the foundation when the upper levels of the building were destroyed by fire several years ago. The cap has since rotted and portions of the concrete block foundation are falling into the basement. That property, city records indicate, is owned by Thomas Harville, of Skowhegan.

A long-vacant apartment building at 197 Northern Ave., owned by David Fritz, of Gardiner, has a rear wall that is deflecting outward and the roof above that wall is collapsing, according to a city code enforcement officer. Also, doors and windows are broken or missing. leaving the building unsecured; the building is infested with mold; and the roof is leaking in multiple locations, causing portions of the ceiling to collapse.

And a building at 22 Maple St., according to a city codes officer, is unsafe for any type of occupancy because it is structurally unsound as a result of a collapsing south wall, is missing doors and windows, and is adjacent to a large concrete retaining wall that is leaning heavily and in danger of falling. It is owned by Eugene Green, of Augusta.

City councilors could deem the four buildings dangerous Thursday and order their owners to demolish them.

Nazar said the city had repeated contact with the owners of the properties, to try to get them to address the conditions of their buildings, before deciding to consider declaring them dangerous buildings and order their removal.

“This is very much something that happens at the end of the process, after we’ve spent a lot of time trying” to get the owners to address the buildings’ problems, Nazar said.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj