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Traver Hotel ready for work

December 01, 2010 | 08:51 AM
The building at 323 Broad St. has stood for 140 years. It was previously known as the Garrison House and the Hotel Denison. Now it is referred to as the Traver Hotel.

But, being vacant the past decade has taken a toll on the historical facility.

Now, the city and the property owners apparently will work together to make some improvements to the building soon.

On Nov. 22, the City Council agreed to follow the advice of City Attorney Dan Draper and create a "comprehensive" list of items that need attention and improvement. The list will be presented to 323 Broad Street Property LLC, which is expected to perform the work on the building.

The decision comes on the heels of discussions and statements regarding what to do with the building, which some city officials and personnel have called "an eyesore" and a "safety concern."

"We have laid out a plan of attack to get the building cleaned up," Draper said during the Nov. 22 council meeting. "As far as I know, Mr. (Keith) Venturi (President of 323 Broad Street Property) has been accommodating."

On Monday afternoon, Draper said the list was still being compiled and he expects to have one to present to the owners by the end of this week.

Building Inspector Barney Brugger said earlier Monday he believes the building is structurally solid and there is nothing significantly wrong with it.

He said he would be happy if the owners would repair the roof, clear the furniture and other items out and scrape and paint the building. He said most of the issues with the building are cosmetic problems. He said there is still electricity in the building and he would like to see the plumbing repaired, which had been shut off because of a leak.

Brugger said he entered and looked through the building last month, but until then hadn't been in it for "a couple of years."

During the final week of October, following several windy days that left the building damaged, the windows and doors of the building were boarded up by the city. According to officials from the Police and Fire departments, the building had become a safety concern. Among the items found in the building were beer cans, a dead raccoon and feces.

According to a memo from City Administrator Dennis Jordan, the property has been vacant for "almost a decade" and there have been "signs recently that unwanted persons have been inside the property." He said the property is "in disrepair" with dead animals found inside and the "toilets are not working, but have been used." Police photos taken before boarding up the building show there also is vandalism, gang graffiti and holes in the walls.

Since then, the boards have been removed and the windows repaired.

According to Venturi, who was in attendance at the Nov. 22 council meeting, there are hopes to use the building in spring as an office for Venturi Partners Construction.

In the past, proposals for the property have included a hotel and apartments. However, because there is no off street parking available, those concepts have not made it very far through the city's planning and zoning process.

Venturi also cited in a letter to the city that he had hopes to receive Tax Incremental Financing District money to help fund a project on the building. He stated that he was "informed by the City Council of their economic distress, which has delayed the planned TIF district funding, which would cover our building through the old NAPA Parts store on Broad Street."

Venturi has said he wants to "repair the building back to its historical state."

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