AVON PARK — Two city-owned downtown buildings, the Brickell Building and Butler Building, sustained major roof and interior damage from Hurricane Irma.
The buildings’ plight were discussed Monday at the Main Street CRA Advisory Board meeting and the City Council meeting.
Main Street CRA Advisory Board Member Robert Flores said the Brickell Building’s roof still has to be fixed.
Before the hurricane the city was estimating a cost of $70,000 to $100,000 for a new roof for the two-story building on Main Street.
There are a lot of requirements for cleaning it up and proposals and strategies to move forward on the building such as what to do with the inside, Flores said.
“It is going to take awhile to get a good plan, but there will be a plan, I am sure,” Flores said. “We hope to be better off and have a better building.”
At the City Council meeting, City Manager Julian Deleon said he was seeking direction from the Council on how to proceed with the Brickell Building, which will have major expenses.
The roofing system has completely collapsed allowing rain water intrusion causing the walls and drywall to have mold and mildew, he said. So everything inside the building has to be gutted.
In a Sept. 21 letter, Fire Safety Inspector Kenny Barnett stated both the Brickell Building and the Butler Building have similar damage with the roof systems sustaining major damage thus allowing water and mold damage within the structures.
Electrical and mechanical systems in the structures have been compromised and will require evaluation, repair or replacement by licensed contractors, he stated.
The Brickell Building was vacant and will remain vacant until repairs have been made, Barnett stated. The Butler Building was occupied by the Church Services Center. The structure will remain unoccupied until all necessary repairs are made.
The Butler Building is located at the south end of South Butler Avenue.
In a Sept. 21 letter, Avon Park Fire Chief Brad Batz stated, “neither of these buildings are suitable to be occupied until major renovations are made to correct life safety issues caused by Hurricane Irma.”
Deleon said the roof of the Brickell Building is too large for a tarp. An initial roof layer is needed at a cost of about $40,000 before the inside damage can be addressed.
The City has not heard from its insurance company or adjuster to determine what amount of insurance payment it will receive.
City Attorney Glinda Pruitt said she should be able to get a response within two days about the insurance.
Council agreed to call a special meeting if necessary to address immediate repairs to prevent further damage to the buildings.
At an April CRA meeting it was noted the estimated cost ranged from $70,000 to $100,000 to repair the roof of the Brickell Building. Plumbing and electrical work would be about $250,000 to $300,000 to convert some spaces in the building into retail and business locations.
There was discussion of selling the building, even at a loss, if a buyer could be found who would renovate it.
The building had been vacant for more than 12 years when the city acquired it about two and a half years ago for $400,000.