Future of collapsed building discussed
A group of community members met with a structural engineer concerning the future of the collapsed buildings on South Marion Avenue Tuesday afternoon. City Administrator Dave Plyman was in attendance, and remarked that the group addressed the ongoing problem of water leakage into the building north of the collapsed buildings, which is a dentist’s office.
Dr. Sergey Floryanovich owns the dentist’s office and alerted the city council to the leakage at the council meeting last week. Councilor Bob Shepherd attended Tuesday’s meeting and said that the leakage needs to be addressed as soon as possible. The structural engineer, Richard Keith of Burlington, recommended that the group contact a roofer. Shepherd said one solution is to cover the south wall of the dentist’s office with heavy roofing material more durable than just a tarp.
“Water is collecting in the spots in the wall where the joist went in, and it’s seeping into his office,” said Shepherd. “That’s why the dental office has some moisture.”
Plyman said that when the city demolished parts of the collapsed building a few years ago, it did not demolish the buildings in toto because there was no need to, and because the buildings could still be of some value to the owners. The city purchased two of the three buildings from Alfonso and Julia Raymundo last fall, and purchased the third building from Marion Avenue Baptist Church earlier this year. Plyman said the properties would be easier to redevelop if a developer had to deal with a single owner, which is the City.
The City is faced with a similar problem it faced with the new library, which was whether to rehabilitate an existing structure or start anew. In the case of the library, the City chose to start from scratch and did not attempt to replicate the look of the prior structure, but rather to build something that fit in with its surroundings. However, Plyman acknowledged that it will ultimately be a private party who redevelops the site and not the city government. That said, now that the city owns it, there is a chance it will salvage parts of the old buildings for historical reasons.
The Washington Historic Preservation Commission is interested in saving the historic façades that survived the collapse in 2006. Carol Ray, a member of the historic preservation commission, attended Tuesday’s meeting and expressed her desire to salvage whatever can be of the old buildings.
“I got the impression the façades could be saved, but I think they would be costly to save,” said Ray. “The buildings are well over 100 years old. The façades are in pretty good shape considering how long they’ve sat there. A previous engineer said they really had not moved or leaned one way or another over time. You could build behind them, and they’d be like a brick veneer.”
For more, see our July 28 print edition.