Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Fortunate that we moved ...

Jason Rihel alerted us to this article in Wicked Local Somerville :


Fear of wall collapse shuts Davis Square in Somerville

Wicked Local Staff Photo by Dan Atkinson
Somerville police and DPW officials block off Elm Street in Davis Square after fears of the Social Security building's wall collapsing
Several Davis Square roads and businesses were shut down June 22 due to fears about the Social Security building’s walls collapsing and will remain shut down for the indefinite future.
Department of Public Works Commissioner Stan Koty told the Journal that an engineer working for building owner Michael Arigiros sent a letter to the city’s inspectional services department at 2:45 p.m. on June 22 after becoming concerned about the building’s Elm Street wall. Both the Elm Street and Chester Street walls of the building are covered with scaffolding, and Koty said the engineer saw the scaffolding pull out the brick wall on the Elm Street side.
“They didn’t feel it was safe,” Koty said.
City police and DPW workers closed Chester Street to Redbones and Elm Street from Chester to Grove Street to vehicle traffic on the advice of the private engineer while the city’s structural engineer examined the building. He came to a similar conclusion.
“Two structural engineers are worried [about this]” Koty said.
Officials initially told businesses across Elm Street from the Social Security building, including Meju, Julie’s Nails and the Burren, to stay open. But after getting the second report, Koty said they would close Meju and Julie’s Nails as well as the Burren’s patio, and the sidewalk of Chester Street from Diva to Redbones will also be closed.
Elm Street will remain closed to traffic on June 23, Koty said, but police will make Highland Avenue a two-way street in order to move traffic through the square. He did not have an estimate for how long it would take to secure the building, but said the owner had given ISD a proposal to fix the wall that ISD was still reviewing.
The Social Security Building has been in disrepair for years, and was covered in scaffolding in November 2013 after a portion of the parapet collapsed due to deteriorating concrete. Argiros was supposed to make repairs but did not do so for months on end, resulting in the city failing a criminal complaint against him for unsatisfactory maintenance in April of this year.

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