Friday, June 01, 2012

Brick façade on 1336 H Street NE collapses; no one injured

Construction halted on 1336 H Street NE today when the building’s brick façade collapsed onto the sidewalk.

No one was hurt in this morning’s collapse, which occurred during an “emergency façade repair,” according to building owner Mark Rengel, who also said the building will mostly likely become a restaurant.

Both Rengel and ANC 6A chair David Holmes said they knew the building could easily collapse, and Holmes said ANC 6A filed a report stating this.

“The façade’s been crumbling for 20 years,” Rengel said. “I had an inclination this was gonna happen … gravity helped us out.

“They did have it caged off and fenced in,” said D.C. Fire Battalion Chief E.R. Mills III.

The bricks from the second floor of the building littered the ground, and a metal garage door was torn from the building. It landed on the scaffolding, knocking out an important metal pin holding it together. Since the scaffolding is two stories tall, it presented the problem of collapsing onto the street into traffic.

The right lane of H St. heading west has been closed for drivers’ safety.

Holmes said the ANC filed a report with DCRA this past September, claiming the building’s façade was on the verge of collapse and presenting a danger to pedestrians and drivers alike on H St. He said the report was not only ignored but insulted, drawing insults such as calling the ANC members “Chicken Little.”

“They were contemptuous of our report,” he said.

DCRA building inspector Delaine Engleberg said it was safe for the construction to resume at noon but suggested an engineer check the back wall of the building. She said the construction team was working on removing the façade anyhow. The only unsolved problem is the scaffolding.

She said only Helder Gil could offer further comment, but he could not be reached by press time.

Washington D.C. real estate development news


Anonymous said...

Had been expecting that for a while now. I noticed last time I walked by (last Thursday?) that the bulge--the bottom of the second floor was clearly bowing outwards 2-3 feet--had clearly gotten a lot worse.

I wonder if something the owners did precipitated the damage (like taking out the second floor floor or other structural alteration). I hope it was just old and had its day.

Anyway, I am glad no one got hurt.

Anonymous said...

I believe the gentleman quoted is the new owner of the building who is working to fix it up not the owner who let it deteriorate all these years…….. Worth clarifying

Mark Rengel said...

As a representative of the new building owner, I would like to provide additional clarification relative to this post. In speaking with adjacent neighbors, they estimated that the building has been vacant for upwards of 20 years - which ultimately led to the building's poor condition. Upon our recent acquisition of the property, we performed a structural engineering analysis and obtained an emergency repair permit for removal and replacement of the existing facade and other structural members. We intend to rebuild the façade and rehabilitate the structure in its entirety. We look forward to returning the property to a productive use on H Street.

IMGoph on Jun 3, 2012, 8:56:00 AM said...

If DCRA actually called the people filing the report "chicken little," they should be ashamed at least, and reprimanded too.

Having people in the neighborhood be the eyes and ears of the government on the street is in their best interest. Mocking us doesn't help.

Anonymous said...

DCRA's a little too busy making sure homeowners aren't repairing fences without a permit.


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