Cross Street shoring remains at Thompson Block despite deadline from city; developer Stewart Beal says it will be gone soon
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
An April 25 deadline to remove shoring from Cross Street that’s propping up the Thompson Block’s walls has arrived, but some bracing remains in the road.
Developer Stewart Beal, who manages the building’s redevelopment effort, said the remaining shoring will be removed within days.
He also said he disagreed that there was a binding deadline requiring it to be out of the street on Monday.
The development, originally envisioned as mixed-use, is now slated to be all residential, featuring loft apartments.
Little work had been completed on the property this year prior to Saturday, when Beal said he and a 12-man crew worked over two days to secure the 148-year-old structure’s walls from the inside. Under Beal's agreement with the city, the spring construction season was due to begin April 12.
Structurally rebuilding the Thompson Block’s interior involved putting in place flooring in its southwest section. The flooring tied the walls into the interior and secured them, and the change allowed half of the shoring to be removed over the weekend.
Beal said poor weather prevented a mason from working to fix structural cracks that occurred when supports were damaged in a 2009 fire believed to be an arson. Jacob Popiolek, 21, has been charged in the case.
Beal said the masonry repairs were under way Monday, and he doesn’t expect a lengthy delay in removing the remaining shoring.
“We’ll be out of the road as soon as we can,” Beal said. “We were delayed by the weather but it should be a matter of days now.”
City of Ypsilanti staff was on a furlough day and City Manager Ed Koryzno couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Beal said the shoring didn’t have to be removed from the street by Monday. He and Koryzno disagree over the wording of a consent judgment that ended four months of litigation between Historic Equities I LLC, which owns the Thompson Block, and the city on Sept. 1.
Beal said the consent judgment entered to settle the lawsuit doesn’t require the scaffolding to be removed until Sept. 2, 2011.
The settlement states, “By 9/2/2011, and in accordance with the schedule attached as exhibit B, Historic Equities will arrange for and complete the restoration of the East Cross and River Street facades of the building, and remove all exterior shoring from the (city’s) right of way.”
Exhibit B lists around 30 construction tasks, along with time frames and deadlines for their completion. It says the shoring must be out of Cross Street by April 25.
Beal said the consent agreement’s wording clearly states the deadline to complete the work is Sept. 2. Beal said the construction schedule is only a list of tasks that need to be completed to finish the project and the dates aren’t legally binding.
“The only drop-dead date we agreed on with the city is September 1, 2011, and we will meet that,” Beal said.
Koryzno has previously disagreed with that interpretation, saying the exhibit provides a more specific timeline on when certain tasks must be completed.
Beal also said the only reason the April 25 deadline was initially agreed upon was due to a repaving project along Cross Street scheduled to start in May. That project has been delayed several months.
Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber said Beal brought the timeline to mediation. Schreiber said he is hopeful the street is quickly cleared.
“Obviously, we need to have Cross Street cleared so we can resurface it, and I certainly hope Mr. Beal makes that happen,” he said. “I would also hope that he would abide by the timeline — his timeline that we agreed to in our mediation — and I don’t look forward to hashing out the fine details in court. I certainly hope we don’t have to.”
Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for AnnArbor.com. Reach the news desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2530.