The crumbling downtown Zandt building is about a month away from being fully repaired on the outside, a spokesperson for the contractor working on the project said.
Exterior repairs started this summer after stone blocks started falling off the southwest corner of the building on March 14. Initially, the city declared the building a nuisance. People living in the second story apartments were evacuated, and no one has been allowed back in the building.
More bricks started crumbling off of the building in the early morning hours of July 4, during the town’s Sesquicentennial weekend. City officials talked about demolishing the building at Wind Street and Second Avenue because engineers had said it couldn’t be repaired.
But owner Jim Zandt said he wanted to save the structure and hired Dave Obenauer, owner of High Rise of Sioux Falls, to fix the building and put the stone blocks back on it. The estimate cost was less than $100,000.
Obenauer initially estimated it would take about 12 weeks to repair the brick and have the outside of the building sturdy again. He also said he could open up the street sooner than it would take if the building were to be demolished.
While it is a couple weeks past the original estimate, city administrator Jeff Pederson said the street was opened back up as soon at the work started, and the hope now is that the building will be in place for years to come.
“As far as the building restoration goes or stabilization, we want it done well,” Pederson said. “They’re maintaining a steady presence.”
He is not worried about the timeframe at this point.
“It’s easy to see there are some nuances to doing that. It is taking time.” Pederson said.
“Our belief and hope in the additional time it’s taking is going to result in it being done correctly.”
Workers are nearly done replacing the crumbling block on the west side of the building, with just a couple of rows left. Then they will work to tie in the south side, which faces Fat Boys Bar. It is unclear how long they can work with colder temperatures and possible snow approaching.
“They’re finishing up,” said Victoria Obenauer, who owns the company with her husband.
Pederson said he continues to have concerns about the inside of the building, where there are several code violations.
“What’s going to happen on the inside, at this point in time, I don’t know,” he said. “The inside of the building is in noticeably rough shape.”