City of Tallassee building inspector Andy Coker had a blunt warning for Hotel Talisi owner Wylie Troupe at the May 28 city council meeting regarding repairs to the crumbling building.
One official indicated the city’s patience is at an end.
“You're going to fix it or we're going to tear it down,” Coker told Troupe. “We have waited and waited and waited. That's why the urgency is now. Because we are requiring it now.”
The council previously condemned the building but granted Troupe an appeal and a grace period if he started repair work by June 10.
Coker said Troupe has chosen L and E Construction as the contractor to begin woodwork and roof removal on the historic building but he has not selected a contractor to arrest falling bricks.
“They plan to start, barring any weather delays, this coming up Monday,” Coker said.
Once Troupe selects a contractor to conduct the brickwork, specific requirements already in place must be met.
“It (the brick) will come down to about eight inches above the second-floor window sills,” Coker said. “At that point, once that's pulled out, then the engineer will come in and rebuild the wall. Once the wall is rebuilt, the roof will go back on.”
Councilmember Bill Godwin asked if the city had its own engineers to verify the work was being properly done and Coker replied the city is using Troupe’s hired engineer, Weatherford & Day of Montgomery.
Councilmember Jeremy Taunton suggested a three-month deadline be enforced on completion of the work.
“How long is too long?” Taunton asked. “Is this going to drag out five more years?”
Coker suggested Troupe be required to put a bond on the property to guard against Troupe failing to follow through on the repairs.
“That way if he walks away from it or something happens the bond is there for the city to take to fix it,” Coker said.
City attorney John Smith said a bond on the property could act as insurance for the city.
“It seems to me that if the city is going to forego whether the building is a nuisance that there can be certain conditions placed on the owner to properly repair the building,” Smith said. “I think the city can place conditions on it and if the owner doesn't want to agree to those conditions, it's within the city's discretion to go ahead and make a determination now whether it is or isn't a nuisance.”
It has been nine years since arson all but destroyed the Hotel Talisi and many residents have questioned the city’s decision to finally hold Troupe accountable for the degenerating structure.
“I have heard the statement, ‘Why now?’” Coker said. “Why now is because the city has held his feet to the fire. If we waited another nine years it would be, ‘Why 20 years?’”
Councilmember Sarah Hill asked Troupe to provide another progress report by the June 11 council meeting, including a full timeline with a set start and end date on the rehabilitation of the structure.