By Sheryl Roadcap and Matt Clevenger
TROY — The property at 112 – 118 W. Main St., known as the Tavern Building, has again been declared unsafe by a building official with the Miami County Building Department.
According to a press release from the Miami County Building Department, adjudication order No. 0036 was issued on Tuesday, May 9, citing the building at 112-118 West Main St, owned by 116 West Main Street LLC, as unsafe and a serious hazard to the public. Action is required is to abate all unsafe conditions immediately, in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code and under contractual obligations to the city of Troy, the release said.
Issues of non-compliance are per onsite inspection by Miami County building official on Monday, May 8, detailed engineering report by Michael Wright, PE, and third-party engineering review of the report by Michael Bruns, PE.
“The May 5, 2023, Expert Witness Report provided by the Safety Through Engineering (STE) company president, Michael C. Wright, provides conclusive and irrefutable evidence of the real threat to public safety posed by the Troy Tavern Building,” a statement released by building owner Randy Kimmel’s attorney Jamie Greer on Monday, May 8, said.
“Mr. Wright concludes that the damage from the 2020 tornado resulted in a number of instances where the loss of integrity of the structure poses a dangerous condition and serious hazard to human life and the public welfare,” the statement said. “The building owner has repeatedly warned Troy’s officials of the significant threat to public safety due to the condition of the building and the need for the building to be demolished. Unfortunately, for some reason, these repeated warnings have fallen on deaf ears.”
Wright’s report specifically mentions cracks and loose bricks in the building’s north wall, and the possibility of collapse due to vibrations from upcoming street construction in front of the building.
“The time is now to protect the citizens of Troy, by allowing the owner of the property to eradicate the hazard by allowing it to demolish its own building on behalf of public safety,” Greer’s statement said.
“The adjudication order flies in the face of common sense, is profoundly irresponsible, and calls into question the integrity of Miami County’s adjudication order process,” a statement released by the Troy Historic Preservation Alliance (THPA) on Thursday, May 11, said.
Attorneys representing the building’s owner also filed an emergency motion on Wednesday, May 10, seeking permission to begin demolition of the building by May 18.
“The demolition must start on or before May 18, 2023, in order to be completed before the Troy Strawberry Festival, which begins on Friday, June 3,” a statement released by Greer on Wednesday, May 10, said. “The estimated time required for the demolition is 14 days. The document filed by the attorneys for 116 West Main requests that the Court make a decision by May 17, 2023, on whether the demolition may proceed.”
A court hearing on the building’s condition has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 16.
“The property owner wants to create a perception that demolition is inevitable,” the THPA statement said. “However, the credible evidence shows that the building is very structurally sound. The property owner needs to use the more than $320,000 in insurance proceeds received years ago to fix the parapet and the roof of the courthouse instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs.”
“The May 17 “deadline” is being conjured up to create a sense of urgency that is not rooted in reality,” the statement said. “The building can be made safe with relatively minor repairs, and poses no threat in its current state with the sidewalk fenced off. The city should make the needed repairs and charge them to the property owner.”
“The building can be brought back into productive use as retail, restaurant, and office space,” the THPA statement said. “Our understanding is that there are interested buyers.”
Workers with the Main Street construction project are ready to begin street and sidewalk work on the section of Main Street in front of the Tavern Building.
“They could begin working in front of the building at any time it is made available,” Troy Director of Service and Public Safety Patrick Titterington said. “Our contractor is working around that area. They can do so until mid-July before they will have to abandon that portion of the project.”
“They need to do some utility work, underground electrical and conduit, rebuild the sidewalks and curbing, and create new streetscapes,” Titterington said.
The city could complete repairs needed to continue with the Main Street project and bill the property owner if necessary, Titterington said.
“The city could complete the repairs if absolutely necessary,” he said.
Misdemeanor charges filed against the property owner by the city are still pending.
“The charges are still pending,” Titterington said. “We could add more, but have not to date.”
All parties involved in the Tavern Building case had previously agreed to work out an agreement regarding repairs.
“I cannot answer why the owner hasn’t reached an agreement, but I do think a resolution could still be possible,” Titterington said.
“Randy Kimmel apparently feels entitled to a windfall profit on this property,” the THPA statement said. “If that is his expectation, he picked the wrong part of town in which to invest.”
“Downtown Troy is the beautiful, thriving place it is today because of a culture of stewardship that spans many generations,” the THPA statement said. “Mr. Kimmel, who owns four other downtown properties, seems intent on creating a blueprint for skirting zoning laws and code enforcement that poses a grave threat to that culture of stewardship.”
The Tavern Building was also recently named to Preservation Ohio’s statewide list of most endangered historic sites for its second year.
Other regional properties on the list include the Greentree Tavern near Lebanon, the Ohmer Garage in Dayton, and the Dwight L. Barnes School in Kettering. The full list can be seen at www.preserveohio.com.
“We are grateful to Preservation Ohio for recognizing the plight of this building, one of the most historic in Troy and Miami County,” THPA president Ben Sutherly said in a press release issued on Thursday, May 11. “This building can be a key contributor to our
thriving downtown in the right hands, and we are committed to preserving it for future generations.”