Plans stabilize for city building

An artist’s rendering of the how the building at 12-18 S. Main St. will be stabilized, leaving the facade intact rather than an empty lot along the main strip downtown. (Photo submitted)

GLOVERSVILLE — City officials have gotten an update on the condition of a downtown building they took over ownership of earlier this year following a partial collapse.

The city was recently able to secure a deal that saw Gloversville take over control of the former Littauer Building at 12-18 S. Main St. along with other properties owned by Two Great Guys Corp. of Saratoga Springs at 20, 22, 24 and 26 S. Main St.

A portion of the rear of the section of the building that runs from 12-18 S. Main St. caved in on itself at around 10 a.m. on July 5.

No injuries resulted from the incident, in part because the building has been vacant for a number of years. South Main Street from Washington Street to Fulton Streets was closed down for a time period until the city got assurances that the building was structurally sound.

According to the report, Two Great Guys Corp. had hired Ryan Biggs/Clark Davis Engineering and Surveying of Clifton Park to design repairs and prepare construction documents.

Members of the Common Council are shown during Tuesday's meeting at City Hall. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

“Prior to performing the repairs, there was a partial collapse of a portion of the southwest wall of the building on July 5,” the study reports.

The city then retained Ryan Biggs/Clark Davis to review the collapse and act as the city engineer in a dangerous building hearing. This past fall, the property was later declared to be dangerous and would need to be torn down or stabilized.

On Oct. 20, Stacey Thomas and Jack C. Healy did observations on the building with binoculars from accessible areas inside the building and with a drone.

According to the study dated Oct. 31, a renovation project on the building began four years prior, but the work stopped and the building was left unfinished.

“The majority of the floor framing had been removed and not replaced,” the study states. “This causes an unstable condition since some of the floors had been removed in each unit that provided bracing to the masonry walls.”

Around 75 percent of the wood floor framing was removed. There are numerous stains on the underside of the roof plank sheathing and roof joists from what could be roof leaks. The report states it is not known if the leaks are active.

The observations showed majority of the roof is intact, with the exception of the portion affected by the collapse. A detached section of framing at the northwest chimney has created a low point where ponding and water damage was seen by the inspectors. A temporary roof drain adjacent to the chimney was detached, leaving a hole where water could get into the building. Wood framed columns support the roof along one of the interior walls is listed as unstable in the report and “in danger of collapse.”

The front facade appears to be in good condition according to the observers.

The study recommended two options with two sub-options. The city is considering going with option 1A for the project.

That option would see the city keep at least 16 feet of the building.

“We recommend extending to include the chimney structure which can be strengthened by adding grout resulting in a length of approximately 20 feet,” the study states.

The plan would also repair a portion of the roof and floor systems, along with installing new joists and adding plywood to the floors.

Third Ward Councilman Vincent DeSantis said the metal pillars and floor joists are still present in the building.

DeSantis said the floors will be replaced, but the beams and pillars will be left. The chimneys that are in the center of the building will be filled with concrete to make them pillars to help stabilization.

“So you end up not just with a facade, but with an enclosed building,” he said. “That stabilizes that structure.”

DeSantis said everything behind the roughly 20 foot stabilized section could be removed.

“It sounds like a lot of work, but [Fourth Ward Councilman Steve Smith] said it is not a great big huge job,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis said the idea will create a closed building and not just a facade, which he said will make the property more stable. He said engineers informed him the front section of the building is “pretty stable” and not in danger of collapsing.

Smith said previously that prior building owner David Eagers got a quote of $115,000 for the demolition and removal of debris from the site. The city would to have a conversation with the business to get a quote for a partial demolition and a quote for stabilization.

Kerry Minor can be reached at