Unfortunate Loss of 26 Caroline Street
The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation is disappointed that the City of Saratoga Springs did not disclose at the City Council meeting that the front façade of 26 Caroline Street could be preserved. Yesterday the Foundation received a copy of the City’s final structural engineer report from Ryan Biggs |Clark Davis Engineering & Surveying. The report noted the following:
Observations: “The front masonry façade does not appear to have been damaged or displaced by the fire; however, there are some pre-existing conditions of minor displacements and bulges in the masonry. However, further collapse of the building framing could compromise this wall.” Please note that the pre-existing conditions appear in a 1982 photograph.
Conclusions: “The front masonry façade appears to be stable with no signs of major structural distress; however, with potential additional collapse of the floor and roof framing, this could cause damage and/or movements of the façade with possible collapse of the wall. With regard to saving the front façade, in my opinion this is structurally feasible (emphasis added). However, design of a shoring and lateral stabilization system would need to be completed and implemented immediately.”
“The concern with attempting to retain the front façade is time the building would be left in an unstable condition during the design and construction of the stabilization, and the potential high cost to implement the stabilization. In addition, access to the building for demolition or major construction activities can only be made from the front (north side) and the safe demolition of the remaining portions for the building would be more difficult and costly if the façade is to remain.”
“Therefore, costs of the stabilization and shoring of the façade along with increased demolition costs appear to be disproportionally high to the benefit to save the front wall that has current problems.”
“It appears the complete demolition of the building may need to occur to form a safe condition if a stabilization system cannot be installed immediately.” Note: no cost for preserving the façade was provided by Ryan-Biggs.
“If the City decides to proceed with demolition of the building, it is recommended that each adjacent property owner have their buildings reviewed by their own engineer in advance of demolition to determine if there are any other concerns with the structural stability of their buildings if 26 Caroline Street is demolished.”
“Demolition will most likely need to proceed slowly to access the existing conditions where 26 Caroline Street abuts the adjacent properties to make sure no unstable conditions are formed in the adjacent properties.” In the interest of full-disclosure, please click here to view the final report provided by Ryan Biggs | Clark Davis Engineering & Surveying and click here to view the letter from the owner’s structural engineer addressing the preservation of the façade. The observations and conclusions made by Mike Miller of Ryan Biggs | Clark Davis Engineering & Surveying regarding the preservation of the façade and potential damage to the adjacent structures echo the structural engineer report that the Foundation hired Don Friedman of Old Structures Engineering to prepare. Click here to view the Old Structures Engineering report.
The Foundation is further disappointed that the City of Saratoga Springs chose not to seek a cost benefit analysis regarding the potential to preserve the façade prior to moving forward with approving full demolition and that the Design Review Commission was not given any opportunity to provide an advisory opinion or that several of its members were not informed of its imminent demolition. The Foundation did its best to fulfill our mission and advocate for the preservation of this structure or, at least, its façade with available resources. We are saddened by the loss of 26 Caroline Street and will be actively involved in the review of the redevelopment of the site. Again, thank you to our members for their continued support of our mission and to those who have expressed support and gratitude for our efforts!