Fixing a Hole: Broadway building prepares for winterization

By: 
Charlie Denison
Reporter

 

Barta Custom Builders contractors Bud Barta, left, and Chris Neff stand by the 25’ x 25’ hole in the back of the Broadway Apartment building. It’s their job to repair the hole.

Photo by Charlie Denison

 

Despite this week’s warm weather, it’s understood winter will be making its entrance sooner rather than later.

For the Montana Preservation Alliance, this means it’s time to get the 103-year-old Broadway Apartment Building ready for hibernation.

“This week a contractor is going to start working on the back of the building,” MPA Executive Director Chere Jiusto said. “The hole in the back will be sealed and a temporary back wall will be erected. That back wall will become part of the long-term design for total repair.”

The winterization process serves more than one purpose, Jiusto said, as the temporary back wall will essentially “create a support structure.”

“This is the first step in permanent repair,” Jiusto said.  “Masonry will be applied next year when the weather is warmer.”

MPA purchased the Broadway Apartment building in October of last year. Since the purchase, there has been a lot of work to do, Jiusto said, and they’ve been on it.

“We’ve been really active and busy since we acquired the building,” Jiusto said. “It’s complex when you are dealing with a historic building that’s been damaged.”

Structural engineering, assessments, architectural drawings, City building permits, Environmental Protection Agency-funded assessments and more; there have been a lot of steps along the way to ensuring the Broadway building gets the treatment it needs in order to move forward.

The MPA and the City of Lewistown also need to make sure that treatment is funded. Work being done to fix the hole, fence the property and clean and maintain the lot before winter hits, for example, is covered by a $50,000 grant from the 1772 Foundation.

In addition, last week a study funded by the EPA was completed regarding hazardous materials inside the building. Asbestos, lead paint and pigeon droppings were all discovered and must be removed.

“It was mostly asbestos that was found,” City Planner Duane Ferdinand said. “There are some asbestos containing materials in the pipe wrapping and the flooring. Pigeon droppings and dead pigeons need to be cleaned up, too. There are a number of environmental contaminants.”

Ferdinand said the City and MPA are currently in negotiations with the EPA’s Brownfields Program on whether or not they’ll foot the bill for the cleanup, which could amount to as much as $188,000.

This cleanup cost is not unexpected, Jiusto said, adding that a feasibility study was done before MPA purchased the building.

“The study indicated it was likely we’d find hazardous materials,” she said. “It’s not unusual for an old building and is kind of routine.”

One year into ownership, Jiusto said the MPA is where they anticipated they’d be with the building, and, once winter is over, she looks forward to speeding up the process.

“I’m excited we’ve gotten this far. We’re looking forward to the next phase, which will consist of improving the building, come spring of next year,” Jiusto said.

One year ago, Jiusto told the News-Argus she hoped MPA had the building up and running again as an apartment complex by the end of 2018. On Monday, she said MPA is still operating on the same timeline.

 

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