The owners of Memphis’ tallest building say they don’t have the money to make the repairs needed to make the 100 North Main building safe.
The building is vacant and the fire department says it’s a huge safety hazard to the public and firefighters.
Local 24 Senior Investigator Jeni Diprizio was in court today and found out the owners will need $1.6 million to take care of the fire and safety issues. Right now, it’s money the owners don’t have.
The fence around the building is in place to keep concrete from falling on people’s heads. Inside, fire inspectors say there are major safety issues. It has an elevator that doesn’t work, parts of the fire alarm system are down, and if it ever caught fire there would be big problems.
Pictures from inside show just how bad it is. Many of the offices have been torn apart.
Someone has illegally hooked up electricity, vagrants have been inside the building stealing valuables and leaving a mess, and even police departments have damaged the inside while doing tactical training.
An attorney for the owners say they’re working on cleaning it up but that costs money the owners don’t have.
“Those are real issues and we’re not trying to say they are not. Well, they are working on getting it done. They have made progress, just not as fast as the court would like, but they have made progress,” said attorney Larry Wiseman.
In the next two weeks, the owners have to remove all illegal electrical connections, level floors that are deemed fire hazards and clear hallways. They also have to turn in detailed plans of how they are going to resolve the remaining code and safety concerns.
“The city has given its okay for more time, but we need a written work plan with dates and times of when this work will be done and a work schedule to get the sidewalk back open and a written plan for the elevator,” said Judge John Cameron.
Previously in court, the attorney for the owners said they had planned to break ground last June on a $60 million renovation of the building. It’s now August and the group’s lawyer says the financing still isn’t in place to renovate the building or even make the repairs.
“What is the problem with the financing?” asked Local 24’s Jeni Diprozio.
“There is no problem, just a matter of getting it done. Time and patience will get it done,” said Wiseman.
If the owners don’t get the work done, a judge could order the city do it and bill the owners for the cost. We will see what happens in two weeks.