Court-chosen engineer says Troy Tavern building reached ‘end of service life’

Geers says restoring Main Street complex ‘is likely economically unfeasible;’ court proceedings continue

TROY — A structural engineer appointed by a Miami County judge to give an independent assessment of the controversial Tavern Building in the city historic district said in a report that the structures “have likely reached the end of their service life.”

The buildings making up the 112-118 W. Main St. structure were “very well built for their time” — with parts dating back to the 1840s — but have “sustained storm damage and “have unfortunately not been cared for in recent years,” Daniel Geers of Jezerinac Geers and Associates in Dublin wrote in the report ordered by Common Pleas Court Judge Stacy Wall.

“As a result, they have likely reached the end of their useful service life,” Geers wrote of the structures. “If funds were not a concern, they could be restored to their original condition, but this is likely economically unfeasible given the extent of the various deteriorations.

“Furthermore, the characteristics of these building are such that it would be challenging to convert them to a different use under the current Ohio Building Code, without incurring more expense than it would take to tear them down and construct completely new buildings,” Geers wrote.

The estimated cost of demolishing the buildings was listed at $250,000, to stabilize them while leaving them unusable at $225,000 and to rehabilitate for use at around $3 million in a brief filed by building owner 116 West Main and its attorney Monday in Ohio’s 2nd District Court of Appeals. Challenges of local rulings in the case are pending in the appeals court.

The report by Geers was available Monday morning. A status conference for all parties was scheduled by Wall for Sept. 22 in her court.

Geers went through the building for some two hours Aug. 18 with representatives of parties to the litigation.

Wall ordered the independent report in June after receiving several conflicting reports on the buildings’ condition.

Geers wrote that he conducted a visual observation of accessible areas of the buildings, including all three floors, a basement and roof.

The building was damaged in a January tornado 2020 tornado that struck the downtown. The sidewalk and parking have been closed since then because of bricks that fell during the storm.

The block of Main Street where the building is located, between Plum and Cherry streets, was closed in late June by the city after Wall declined to order building removal following findings by Rob England, county chief building official, and Matthew Simmons, Troy fire chief, that the structure was unsafe and dangerous.

The engineer’s report does not address the need for closing of the sidewalk and street in front of the building.

An appeal of the findings by Simmons and England that the building was unsafe was filed recently with the city of Troy Board of Zoning Appeals by neighboring building owners Cheryl Cheadle and Evil Empire LLC. A hearing on the appeal is scheduled for Sept. 19.

The Troy Historic Preservation Alliance, a nonprofit organization working to preserve historic properties, said Monday the report doesn’t address the key issue of any threat posed by the building.

“The case currently before this court revolves around whether the … building presents an imminent danger to the public safety. Significantly, this report presents no such evidence. In the absence of evidence and documentation to support allegations that the building’s north wall is about to collapse, West Main Street should be reopened to vehicular traffic immediately,” the alliance stated.

Building owner 116 West Main declined to comment Monday. The city of Troy did not respond to a request for comment.

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