TROY – The proposed demolition of a Main Street building that housed an early county courthouse and an array of well-known businesses has sparked letters and emails urging the Troy Planning Commission and city to find a better solution for the structure and others in the Historic District.
The proposal to demolish the three-story building at 112-118 W. Main St. that was damaged during the January tornado that struck downtown Troy was tabled Oct. 14 by the planning commission and is scheduled for its next agenda Wednesday, Oct. 28. The building is commonly referred to as “the Tavern.”
The planning commission is accepting comments on the proposal until noon Tuesday, Oct. 27. Comments should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Written comments also can be delivered or mailed to the Planning Commission, in care of Sue Knight, 100 S. Market St. Troy.
The motion to table was made after the commission received more than a dozen letters in the hours before the meeting asking it to not act quickly and to take a close look at the proposal. The letters came from organizations and individuals, some expressing concerns about the proposed removal of the older building in the historic district. More letters were received in the days following the Oct. 14 meeting.
The application was filed by 116 W. Main LLC, Randy Kimmel. The downtown building’s original structure was constructed in the 1840s, was home to an early courthouse and is located across the street from the Masonic Temple building and near the 1880s historic Courthouse.
The 112-118 W. Main St. building was declared an unsafe structure and deemed a serious hazard by Rob England, Miami County chief building official. He cited in a Sept. 23 letter findings in a structural engineer’s report that trusses and connections have failed, and load bearing masonry walls show extensive deterioration. The letter ordered the building vacated. It was received by the owner Oct. 1.
“I have been working with the owner’s broker, Ben Redick at Bruns, to help seek the best option for everyone,” England said via email. “However, when a building is deemed unsafe, the code spells out we must put a reasonable time frame for repair or the building in question must be razed.”
England has been asked to join the Oct. 28 commission discussion on the building.
Letter writers raised questions for the commission including if an independent third party had been brought in to assess the building and whether the building was fully insured.
Lifelong city resident Doug Tremblay listed for the commission 10 buildings whose demolition was part of “serious debate” before that option was not selected in recent years including buildings near the Public Square where there were roof collapses and other issues, and someone stepped up to repair.
“Troy has to stop tearing down the old buildings that make us charming and desirable or we will run out of old buildings,” Tremblay wrote.
Attorney Jeremy Tomb owns buildings to the west of the Tavern building near the corner of West Main and Plum streets. In a letter to the commission, he questioned why nothing was done to require work on the building following the January tornado. saying he emailed the city in July expressing concerns about its maintenance. “Ten months that building has sat basically unattended to and with no citations or actual stabilization efforts, so I do not understand the urgency now,” Tomb said.
The building owner wrote in the application that, “While we recognize that this property once contained one of Miami County’s courthouses, it is far removed from those historic days. Prior to our ownership, the property underwent several renovations, alterations and additions. As a result, the first-floor space is now unrecognizable from its original state. In fact, the only portion of the building that is even remotely recognizable in its original state is the rear two-story structure. The upper floors have been completely ignored for decades. And while that was known at the time of purchase, the storm damage from January’s tornado has now made it fiscally unsound to repair and renovate those areas.”
The demolition application includes a repair estimate of $659,788 and demolition estimate of $169,470.
A possible future of the property if the building is removed is for parking, according to the proposal.
The Troy city staff recommended approving demolition.
Troy Mayor Robin Oda, a planning commission member, pointed out the county’s letter said removal, if the option, was needed in 60 days. Alan Kappers, commission chairman, said his interpretation was the unsafe condition must be resolved in 60 days with options to also include a plan for repair within that timeframe.