Concrete and rock removal to delay Taylor Hotel work
Posted: January 30, 2013
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — The front of the former Taylor Hotel building now is suspended on steel, and crews are working to remove concrete and rock underneath it, slowing construction work.
Jim Deskins, executive director of the Winchester Economic Development Authority (EDA), said Tuesday that the first phase of the renovation project probably won’t be finished until March as opposed to the expected February completion date.
However, he said that the delay shouldn’t prevent the redevelopment of the historic property from finishing by the end of the year.
“It’s costing us some time,” Deskins said, “but nothing that is of consequence at this point. It shouldn’t preclude us from being able to complete the project by the end of the year.”
The EDA and private partner Taylor Pavilion LLC are teaming on the $3.6 million project to redevelop the historic property.
Broadway’s Lantz Construction is being paid $1.18 million to complete the first phase of the work — demolishing the middle of the building and stabilizing the remaining portions. That part of the project began on Nov. 5.
When finished, the property will feature commercial and residential space, a grassy pavilion and a nine-bay farmers market.
Construction crews have placed steel under the former hotel section at the front of the building at 119-129 N. Loudoun St. They continue to dig underneath the building for a basement area that will be part of a two-floor restaurant and pub space.
Mike Knight, a construction superintendent for Lantz, said workers hit rock and concrete under the hotel building and are slowly removing it. Because a structure is suspended above it, excavation must be done without explosives or heavy equipment.
“We have to be careful about how that rock is removed when the building is sitting on temporary steel,” he said. “We can’t blast the rock or use excessive force because the building essentially is on stilts.”
Instead, workers are drilling holes in the concrete and rock and pouring in cracking agents that expand as they dry, breaking the concrete and rock into smaller pieces. Deskins said temperatures must be above freezing for the agents to be effective.
The demolition work on the old Colonial Theatre in the middle of the building is mostly done. That part of the structure suffered from years of neglect after a partial roof collapse in 2007.
Knight said workers continue to dismantle part of the theater’s northern wall by hand so the bricks can be reused during the second phase of the project.
The front section of the hotel building’s roof also has been stabilized so the rear section can be removed. He said parts of the roof damaged by exposure to the elements must be replaced.
The alleyway on the south side of the building was reopened last Thursday and will remain open until the final few days of the project, Knight said. It will have to be closed so a section of alley wall that still helps support the hotel building can be removed.
Completing the project by the end of the year is important, Deskins said, because it allows the historic tax credits for the project to be claimed in the 2013 tax year. If the project stretches beyond Dec. 31, they can’t be claimed until the 2014 tax year.
He said city officials will meet with Lantz today to see if the project schedule can be juggled to minimize the delay.
Negotiations are under way for the restaurant space at the hotel, Deskins said. Five apartments will be available above that space, but no waiting list has been established for those units.
— Contact Vic Bradshaw at firstname.lastname@example.org