May 5, 2011

Buildings Ordered Vacated Following Unfavorable Inspection Report

As one cleanup project on the city square is coming to an end, another situation is looming on the opposite corner. On April 28th the City of Memphis ordered the properties of 100 and 102 East Madison Street to be vacated in an emergency action due to the declining structural integrity of the buildings.

City Attorney April Wilson indicated the move was made in the interest of public safety after the city's building inspector identified worsening conditions at the site.

The two buildings were inspected by an independent structural engineer on Friday, April 29th. All-State Consultants of Columbia, met with city officials following the five-hour review of the site and concurred with the opinion of vacating the premises.

"They basically substantiated the city's order to vacate the two buildings on an emergency basis due to the seriousness of the situation and the threat to public safety," said Wilson.

That threat was deemed significant enough for the board of the Memphis Theatre, located directly east of the two buildings, to cancel scheduled movies for the weekend, and to close the facility until the situation is resolved.

Barricades have been installed to close the sidewalks in front of the Jackson Auction House and Red Hot Nails buildings owned by David and Jodie Jackson.

The issue has been scheduled for consideration in executive session at the May 5th meeting of the Memphis City Council.

The two buildings have been subject of city action dating back to the fall of last year. An unfavorable building inspection report dated September 27th, 2010, started a process of hearings regarding the sites.

City building inspector Roy Monroe's report noted building defects as defined in city code 505.020(8) and deemed the buildings to be dangerous structures and ordered the buildings be repaired within 30 days.

The original report cited loose bricks in several areas but highlighted concerns centering around the fascia on the front of the east building, which was leaning out, creating concerns it might collapse and fall into the street.

A November 17th hearing in front of Mayor William Reckenberg, serving as Memphis Building Commissioner, resulted in a continuance to allow the property owners time to secure service bids for proposed repairs.

No action was documented on the two properties over the following six months.

The April 27th inspection highlighted concerns with the east wall of the 102 building, which demonstrates a lean or buckle that denotes deteriorating structural integrity. The front fascia has further deteriorated, expanding the threat it will fall.

The city council will meet with the property owners this week to determine repair or demolition options.

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