VOL. 130 | NO. 147 | Thursday, July 30, 2015
Repair, Fence Ordered For Downtown Building
By Amos Maki
The owner of a long-vacant Downtown building that suffered a partial roof collapse last week following heavy rain must erect “appropriate” fencing around the structure, according to Shelby County Environmental Court Judge Larry Potter.
The owner of a Downtown building that recently suffered a partial roof collapse must erect protective fencing in advance of a Monday, Aug. 3, court hearing.
(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)
Potter, in a Wednesday, July 29, hearing, ordered owner Long Development LLC to work with the city’s engineering division to place the fence around 107 S. Main St. to protect pedestrians on the Main Street Mall.
“That window hopefully permits a great deal of work to be done to remedy the situation,” said Potter, referring to the scant likelihood of rain before another hearing on the property scheduled for Monday, Aug. 3.
Potter also ordered Long Development and owner Allen Long to make an effort to repair the building in advance of Monday’s hearing.
A downpour on Thursday, July 23, knocked out power to most of Downtown and resulted in a partial roof collapse at the building. A ruptured sprinkler system caused water to pour into adjoining buildings.
Adam Nahmias, an attorney representing Long, said the building is currently under contract to be sold and that Long will comply with the court’s wishes.
“This concept that Mr. Long is neglecting his property is inaccurate,” Nahmias said. “We have no interest but to get this resolved (as soon as possible). We’re working as hard as we can.”
Long declined to answer questions following the Wednesday hearing.
The city and the Downtown Memphis Commission filed suit against Long in March, saying the 115-year-old building posed safety concerns. The suit, the second the city filed against Long in a period of several years, alleged that water seeps through the building’s walls into two adjoining residential buildings at 105 S. Main and 113 S. Main.
The circa-1910 row building is in the demonstration block, once a block of mostly vacant buildings that the Downtown Memphis Commission made a priority for redevelopment. Long acquired the property for $280,000 in 1998, but the building has remained vacant even as Main Street has experienced a revival. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2015 appraisal is $293,100.
Long and the DMC each hired engineers to evaluate the building. While both engineers agreed that it needs substantial repairs, they disagreed on whether the building currently poses a public safety risk.
According to an affidavit from veteran architect Antonio R. “Tony” Bologna filed in March, moisture from the building has leaked through its walls and into the adjacent properties, raising immediate public safety concerns. Photos appeared to show rotting, water-damaged wooden structural supports in the Long building that could impact its load-bearing ability.