Save the front facade of the townhouse in Mt. Vernon deemed too dangerous by CHAP

The damaged historic building at 4 East Eager Street cannot be salvaged and will fall in full, decided the executive director of CHAP, the Baltimore preservation council.

Endorsing a report from the owner’s structural engineer, Eric Holcomb said the facade of the elegant 1860s townhouse has become “too dangerous to save” following its destabilization during the construction of a adjacent building.

“I will work with the housing department and the applicant to approve its deconstruction,” said Holcomb. The drink this evening.

The two buildings, the eight-story tower rising from Charles and Eager streets and the soon-to-be defeated townhouse next door, are controlled by Landmark Partners under various limited liability companies.

On or around March 24, 2021, during excavation work on the new building, the townhouse became destabilized “due to inadequate cladding and shoring,” according to a report presented to CHAP by the structural engineer from Landmark Partners last week.

Historic building in Mt. Vernon, damaged by construction project next door, likely to be demolished (09/14/21)

“Someone is guilty here,” says CHAP president (9 / 15-21)

While tenants living at 4 East Eager were immediately evacuated, the building did not undergo any of the emergency repairs recommended by engineers Skarda and Associates.

Landmark Partners, led by Jonathan Pannoni and George Watson, also failed to notify CHAP or the city’s housing department that the building was moving and settling – with plaster falling inside the building and cracks. appearing on the front and west walls – until September 2.

A day later, Pannoni asked CHAP for permission to immediately demolish the building in the historic Mt. Vernon district.

City Councilor Eric Costello tweets on September 1 that it is exciting to “see another crane in the sky” in his neighborhood. Four East Eager is pictured in the foreground just days before Landmark Partners sought permission from the city for its teardown.

Personal safety issues

Last week, Deputy Housing Commissioner Eric Uttenreither told CHAP the damaged building was one of the worst properties it has ever been in, and said civil penalties would likely be imposed for code violations. housing.

Expressing frustration and flashes of anger, CHAP commissioners ordered Landmark Partners to investigate the feasibility of saving the building’s front facade and asked Uttenreither to prepare a report on possible housing violations.

While the report on the housing violations has not been completed, Landmark Partners submitted the feasibility study on Friday.

It was prefaced with a letter from their attorney, David B. Applefeld, telling CHAP that “the deconstruction required with conditions delays demolition and creates potential exposure, given the human safety concerns currently documented.”

The report, again from Skarda and Associates, said the fragility of the building poses a serious risk to construction workers and stabilization would be very difficult with only four feet separating the damaged townhouse and the new building from eight floors.

“Significant cracks in the front wall at the southwest corner of the building have worsened over the past six months, and the south wall (front facade) is at risk of collapsing,” the report said.

And even if the front façade could be braced and stabilized, it “would still appear to be tilted,” PE Stephen M. Brown concluded.

3D graphics

At its meeting last Tuesday, CHAP asked Landmark Partners to 3D scan the building as soon as possible.

Landmark submitted a quote of $ 6,750 for scanning the interior and exterior and building a computer model of all walls, floors, ceilings, rooms, columns, doors and windows.

Holcomb said CHAP “isn’t there yet” to determine whether 3D graphics will be needed or when demolition could begin.

Landmark Partner's eight-story office building rises behind the former Grand Central nightclub, whose historic faces are propped up by heavy braces under construction.  (Marc REutter)

The Landmark Partners office building rises behind the former Grand Central nightclub, whose facade has been stabilized by a network of wooden braces. Building 4 East Eager is obscured by the red crane. (Marc Reutter)

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