Building front comes down
LaGRANGE — The demolition of the former Mansour’s building on Lafayette Square picked up Thursday morning, but then hit a snag – specifically, a water main.
As they were taking down the facade of the old building, demolition workers with RA-LIN hit an old water main supplying part of the building’s fire sprinklers. The main was not documented in the city’s records and no one realized it even existed, said Patrick Bowie, director of utilities for the city of LaGrange.
“We had already turned off all the services to the rest of building, we’d all walked through building, the construction company walked through, nobody knew it was there,” he said. “When they hit the pipe, it just started spewing.”
City crews had to reduce the water flowing from the pipe and try to trace where its shut off valve was located. It took about five to six hours before the water main was closed off.
Water service was halted to businesses on Vernon Street between South Greenwood and the square while crews made the fix, Bowie said.
During the initial water flow, a trackhoe ran over and damaged some electrical cables, causing traffic lights to temporarily go out on the square at the Bull and Church streets intersections.
The morning problems weren’t expected to cause much delay in the demolition of the building, said Bobby Carmichael, executive director of the Downtown LaGrange Development Authority.
“I don’t see this being a huge setback,” he said.
The site is set to be cleared within a couple of weeks, Carmichael said. It will serve as the location for a Courtyard by Marriott hotel, which is expected to open between late 2017 to early 2018.
Construction on the hotel is required to begin no later than Oct. 31 to meet a contract for a tax allocation district for the development. The city will fund the hotel to the tune of $2.75 million using the tax allocation district.
The Downtown LaGrange Development Authority will act as the conduit of the money and the city will purchase the note, which has a fixed interest rate of 3.5 percent. The debt will be repaid using ad valorem taxes collected from the hotel.
The city of LaGrange is contributing $321,780 toward demolition of the Mansour’s building.
The city has also agreed to use a portion of hotel-motel taxes collected specifically at the hotel to maintain the exterior of the building along with the adjacent 200-car parking deck. The deck is funded with $4 million from the Callaway Foundation.
Under the agreement, the city may also use the maintenance fund to recondition or repair the hotel’s lobby if wear and tear occur from people passing through it from the parking deck to Lafayette Square. The maintenance fund is not to exceed $250,000 in holdings, and is voided if the hotel is sold to a third party, or when the tax allocation district, which is partially funding the hotel, expires.
The approximately 90-room hotel will employee about 30 people and have various amenities including a pool, fitness room, bar and restaurant.