Some times you have to use your own eyes instead of relying on what others say – such is the case with the Ice HouseÃ‚Â (N&R).Ã‚Â Our City Council needs to take a road trip to see what is truly going on down on Market Street.
Following my post about the pending demolition of this historic building, Councilwoman Carmany contacted city staff for the skinny. She reported her findings over at her place and cross-posted the information in my comments section as well. She tells us that the city’s head of inspections and engineering, Butch Simmons, had grave news…
“…the ties securing that veneer to the rest of the building have failed. The planned streetscape improvements on that section of East Market Street requires the removal and replacement of the existing sidewalk, and it was evident the jackhammer vibrations would bring that brick veneer crashing down. Preliminary estimates to secure the brick veneer in the $200,000-300,000 range.”
My visit to the site today reveals that the city staff has misled at least one City Council member.
There is a small portion of the brick veneer that could very well collapse, but this situation is the city’s own fault. As these pictures show, the brick is coming apart because there is a huge tree growing through the building.Ã‚Â (Click on them for larger, more detailed, images.)Ã‚Â The fact that the Ice House continues to stand strong despite that negligence-inflicted wound should be a selling-point testament to the strength and integrity of old structures, not a reason to tear it down.
If the city had been maintaining this property correctly, like, say… keeping a tree from growing inside the building, there would be no brick to fix because the rest of the brick veneer is in exceptional shape.Ã‚Â But now, because we have allowed such a thing to happen – our office of engineers says it will cost between $200k and $300k to fix a problem of our own making.
The tree that is growing through the building is quite old and should have been removed the day we bought the place. The picture shows evidence that someone took a chainsaw to it some time ago, but all they did was trim it.Ã‚Â
You trim backÃ‚Â the branches fromÃ‚Â all of the trees growing through your house, don’t you?Ã‚Â Sure you do.
And another thing. I know a thing or two about the cost of repairing old buildings and I will be more than pleased to enter into a contract to fix that corner of the Ice House for $165,000.Ã‚Â That will save the taxpayers between $35K and $135K based on the city’s estimate of repair.Ã‚Â
The way I figure it, I could pay for all of my childrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s college educations from the profit I would make from the project.Ã‚Â From what I’ve seen of how the tree damaged the building, I would have to try real hard for the repair to actually cost me $35,000, and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d even subcontract the work to a real brick mason. From my estimatation, I could pocket a cool $130,000 off the deal.Ã‚Â Send me the contract.
The city bought the Ice House three years ago in order to tear it down for bus parking and they are building their case to git ‘r done.Ã‚Â Well, their case sucks.
Someone needs to hold some city stafferÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s feet to the fire on this one.