Thursday, February 24, 2011

City Moving Forward to Acquire Charitone Hotel

written by Sandra Knebel, Chariton Herald Patriot Feb. 24 and Mar. 1, 2011

Receipt of an engineer's report regarding the structural integrity of the Charitone Hotel reinforced rather than redirected the Chariton Ciy Council's decision to acquire title.  The attorney for hotel owner, Charles Thomas, asked the Council to withdraw their legal action based upon a structural engineer's report.

In the letter, this was stated, "While I acknowledge the report is not a complete bill of health, it certainly does not paint the picture of a building that constitutes a public nuisance under Iowa law.  In fact, the report largely speaks to the contrary."

"Overall the building is in fair condition with some elements of the building being in poor condition.  There appears to be significant issues with the roofing on the building which has allowed a large amount of moisture to infiltrate the building through the years.  This has caused a significant deterioration and damage to the wood roof structure.  It is my understanding that this moisture damage caused one of the wood roof trusses to bow downward significantly and thus pushed some of the exterior masonry off the wall on the south side of the building.  These roof trusses have been jacked up and a new temporary wood stud wall constructed beneath them.  This appears to have stabilized the roof and prevented any further damage to the exterior walls.  This roof structure, in my opinion, will need to be replaced with a new structure.  

"The condition of the floor structure varies to its condition.  The fourth floor has the most deterioration and corrosion that is noticeable.  The water that has infiltrated the building has caused some areas of the concrete floor to fall off and has caused corrosion in the steel channel beams....There were small isolated areas of significant corrosion observed.  In two locations, the steel beams have corroded all the way through the member and have fallen away from the floor above."

In the engineer's final paragraphs he notes, "A note of caution is that the longer the water is allowed to enter the building the faster the structure will continue to deteriorate.  It may reach a point in the near future where the deterioration is so widespread that it may not be able to be repaired."

It was not necessary for the council to take further action since the legal papers have been served and the engineers report provided no firm basis for a change in direction.

It is Meyer's hope that there will be no cost to the City.  "My goal would not be to have the city spend money on it," he said,  "That does not mean that we won't have to.  I am hopeful that there will be funding support if the city is able to acquire title.  My point has always been that until someone locally owns it, we can talk about all the plans we want, but it is just talk.  The real issue now is not the cost, which would only be insurance, but how the owner responds to the litigation."

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