Months after construction was halted for a new Fort Wayne hotel, the owner remains in talks with the Allen County Building Department to develop plans to correct structural issues.
The property is located at 5950 Cross Creek Blvd., off Lima Road and owned by Raj Patel Inc. of Fort Wayne. It is a part of the Avid Hotel chain and is valued at $1.5 million, according to the building permit.
County building inspectors placed a stop-work order on the building on Jan. 17. Allen County Building Commissioner John Caywood said an inspector initially discovered two employees working without licenses.
Further inspection revealed serious problems with the structure of the building, including steel that was improperly installed and welding issues. At the time, Caywood called it some of the worst work he has seen in 30 years in the field.
“I have never seen steel erected so poorly in Allen County,” said Caywood. “It’s taken a lot of time and effort by the building department to make sure this hotel will go up safely.”
Just last week, Caywood said he met with an engineer hired by the building’s owner, the county attorney and county engineer. A plan was presented to support the building while the steel is replaced.
The county’s engineer has approved those plans. Now, the building department is prepared to issue permits to have structural supports placed in the building to get the process started. Caywood said it will likely take months to replace the steel.
“It’s the building owner’s right to try to fix it at this stage,” said Caywood. “It’s not unsafe to those around us. It won’t fall on somebody causing injury.”
The building owner is paying for the engineering and testing – and covering the cost that the county has incurred. Taxpayers have not incurred any additional cost.
A $128,000 fine will be held if owner corrects the violations and ensures his other properties are in compliance.