Wednesday, August 16, 2017

City declares Read Brothers building an emergency situation, lien placed on property

A temporary fix

Posted by Mary Scott Hardaway on Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 10:28 AM

click to enlarge Structural engineer Craig Bennett has made recommendations for building repairs - SAM SPENCE
  • Sam Spence
  • Structural engineer Craig Bennett has made recommendations for building repairs
At the close of Tuesday evening's meeting of Charleston's Ways and Means Committee, city officials unanimously approved $41,700 in temporary repairs to the Read Brothers property on King Street.

Council member Bill Moody presented a last-minute addition to the committee's agenda to approve a contract between the city and NBM Construction to "shore up" and add scaffolding to the troubled landmark building. Declared an "emergency situation" by city legal staff, a 2/3 vote was needed to add the contract discussion to the agenda on the night of the committee meeting.

After being added to the agenda following a unanimous vote, city legal staff explained that they are "Hoping Mr. Read will step up and take over full restoration, he has not so far."
click to enlarge "Unsafe" signs placed on the Read Brothers windows - DUSTIN WATERS
  • Dustin Waters
  • "Unsafe" signs placed on the Read Brothers windows

Pressed for a vote that would place a $41,700 lien on the Read Brothers building to fund temporary repairs, city staff added that "the condition of the building is unsafe ... a number of problems are an immediate threat to human safety ... bricks are falling, portions of the building are crumbling."

According to a report to Committee members, Charleston deputy building official Edye Graves notified the Reads of the building's condition on "at least three occasions" and that after asking the building's owner to "remedy the risk," he has "failed to do so." Staff said they have notified Mr. Read that they are moving forward with placing the lien on the property for the cost and expense incurred by the city performing these services.

After hearing more about the state of the property, committee members gave unanimous approval to the city contract with NBM Construction.
The Reads were unavailable for comment this morning. 

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