RACINE — The demolition of a blighted building at 1516 Washington Ave. appears to still be costing the city money five months after the building was razed.
The city recently sent a purchase order to a Tiger Restoration for tuck-pointing and minor carpentry work to fix a gap at 1512 Washington Ave., the building that sat next to the now demolished structure.
“We exposed some gaps in the ... building when the other building was taken down,” Public Works Commissioner Mark Yehlen said. “There is this one spot that has a gap in the bricks that we need to make weather-tight.”
That work, which had not been done as of Friday, comes two months after the city ended up paying for change orders on the demolition job — change orders that ended up putting the cost for the project at twice the original contract amount.
Approved by the City Council on April 3, the change orders — one for $3,750 and another for $22,394 — brought the total amount paid to contractor Azarian Wrecking to $52,350, and was the source of weeks of debate among aldermen, city staff and feuding contractors over the bidding and oversight of the project.
One contractor, Dan Macemon, who bid on the job but was not chosen, said Azarian failed to adhere to the bid specifications for the job. City staff contended Macemon’s concerns were misguided and argued he “read too far into” the specifications, ultimately misinterpreting them.
Macemon contended his bid for the job, $53,233, was about twice Azarian’s original bid of $26,209 because he correctly interpreted bid specifications that he says spell out that the contractor was responsible for protecting and sealing neighboring structures. After the City Council approved the change orders, Macemon filed a complaint with the city’s Board of Ethics, but the board ultimately dismissed the complaint.
The $3,750 change order was requested to pay for work needed to close window and doorway openings at 1512 Washington Ave. The $22,394 change order was requested to pay for roofing work and masonry repair to the parapet and front wall of that building.
There was no change order for the tuck-pointing work because it will be done by a contractor other than Azarian, Yehlen said.
He added the new work is not necessary because of a mistake by Azarian.
Mayor John Dickert ordered that the building at 1516 Washington Ave. be taken down in November after staff became concerned the structure’s crumbling facade might fall off and hurt someone. The money for the demolition came from the Building Department’s budget, but Dickert said in April that the city planned to bill the building’s owner for the work.
At the time 1516 Washington Ave. was demolished, the building and land were owned by Colorado-based companies HPG Management and PHG Management.
Who will end up getting billed for the new $1,650 job remains to be discovered, especially since the title to 1516 Washington Ave. recently changed hands.
According Chief Building Inspector Ken Plaski, the building was sold to Racine resident Eric Love sometime last month.
Attempts to reach Love Friday were unsuccessful.