A structural engineering report on the apartment building at 930 North Blvd. has determined that two phases of work are needed to repair the structural issues that prompted the immediate mass evacuation of the apartment building’s tenants last November by order of the village of Oak Park. The building remains empty.
The need for structural reinforcement was first discovered by village building officials during an inspection of a unit that was being remodeled. It was found that floors on at least two levels of the seven-story building sloped as much as four inches toward the center of the structure.
Dated April 1, the 185-page structural engineering report was compiled by engineering consulting firm Thornton Tomasetti. The report was ordered by the village of Oak Park and paid for by the building’s owners, Goldman Investments. Representatives of Thornton Tomasetti made two visits to the site to determine the severity of the building’s structural issues. Thornton Tomasetti’s findings were then confirmed by village building officials.
The proposed repairs will not be the first ever made to the building. Roughly 20 years ago, a reinforcement repair to the building was made between two columns near the out-of-use first-floor swimming pool, according to Steve Cutaia, Oak Park chief building official.
The first phase of reinforcement repairs to the building involves adding a third column, making for a trio of support posts on the first floor. Cutaia also believes the swimming pool will be filled in.
The rest of the building will be reinforced as well by encasing the existing columns on each floor in a sleeve of cement or steel, which makes up the second phase of reconstruction efforts. The repairs will not straighten the floors but keep them buttressed.
“They want to basically encase it and make the columns flare out a little bit to support the walls above,” said Cutaia.
The repairs require two different permits for which the village has yet to receive applications. However, Cutaia said the permits are ready for issuance.
The building is managed by 33Realty, which only began overseeing the building three weeks before its evacuation. Eric Weber, the owner of 33Realty, told Wednesday Journal last November that the management company used its own staff to help tenants move out of 930 North Blvd.
Goldman Investments handled the relocation costs, according to Weber, who also stated that building’s problems were not known to Goldman Investments at the time of purchase.
It is unclear when tenants will be able to move back into their homes. Weber estimates the reconstruction work will take about six to eight months and cost Goldman Investments multiple millions. He praised Goldman Investments for its commitment to seeing the project through.
Despite the unexpected pitfalls of managing 930 North Blvd., Weber gives credit to the building’s property manager James Moore, calling him the “glue” of the operation for his efforts to keep the village, tenants and contractors informed.
“He’s the reason that this has went as well as it has,” said Weber. The village is likewise pleased with the efforts of Moore and 33Realty. Cutaia said the company has been “extremely understanding” and cooperative.