The owner of Tacoma’s Old City Hall building has agreed to repair the structure’s leaking roof by Dec. 20.
A city hearing officer last week approved an agreement between Tacoma officials and the Stratford Co. setting a timeline for fixing the 120-year-old building, located at 625 Commerce St.
If the Seattle-based company doesn’t comply with a series of administrative and construction deadlines outlined in the agreement, Tacoma officials have the authority to enter the building and complete the work themselves, according to an order signed Thursday by city hearing officer Gregory A. Jacoby.
The first deadline comes Wednesday, when Stratford must send Tacoma officials bids from companies willing to complete the roof repairs.
The company must then submit design plans to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission by Oct. 2 and apply for any required city building permits by Oct. 9.
Stratford must show it can finance the work and begin construction by Nov. 4, according to the approved timeline.
Tansy Hayward, Tacoma’s assistant city manager and neighborhood and community services director, called the timeline “very aggressive.”
The owner “has made strong commitments to address the issues,” Hayward said Monday. “… We will continue to be watchful to make sure those commitments are upheld and those investments are made at the pace that is expected.”
If Stratford doesn’t complete the work on time and the city takes over, the hearing officer’s order allows the city to recoup the repair costs by placing a lien on the property.
A city building inspector categorized Old City Hall as a dangerous building in July after finding several code violations there, including a leaking roof on the structure’s northeast tower.
Other violations the building inspector noted included loose bricks on the chimney, masonry pieces falling onto the sidewalk, and nonfunctioning fire sprinklers.
The Stratford Co. has promised to address those issues in the coming year, according to its agreement with the city. The company must fix additional code violations — such as interior water damage and rodent infestation — within five years, and apply for the necessary permits to complete the final repairs within three years.
Stratford CEO George Webb said the company is working to meet the agreed-upon deadlines. He said he wouldn’t discuss any challenges the company might face in financing the work or submitting the required paperwork on time.
“We had productive dialogue with the city to reach the agreement and are working hard to comply,” Webb wrote in an email Tuesday. “Beyond that, I can’t say more at this time.”Melissa Santos: 360-357-0209 melissa.santos@ thenewstribune.com