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City condemns parking deck; owner plans to sue

Published: Fri, March 16, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.


Youngstown condemned the A-1 Parking garage on West Boardman Street downtown Thursday because of structural problems.

By David Skolnick



The city condemned a downtown parking deck because structural problems identified a year ago haven’t been addressed.

Yeshohua Weider of Brooklyn, N.Y., who owns A-1 Parking at 23 W. Boardman St., said Thursday he was in the final stages of hiring a contractor to make the repairs at a cost of $200,000 to $400,000. But because of how he’s been treated by city officials, Weider said he won’t make the repairs and will instead fight the city in court.

“They act like they’re in Cuba; the Cuban government does whatever they want,” Weider told The Vindicator during a telephone interview. “There are no laws in Youngstown. They are doing whatever they want.”

Mayor Charles Sammarone acknowledged that city building officials should have followed up on the problems with the deck months ago, but it was Weider’s responsibility to make the repairs.

Because the deck poses an “imminent danger,” said Dana Lantz, the city’s first assistant law director/housing prosecutor, the city condemned it Thursday.

“We have to do something; even their own engineer says it’s structurally unsafe,” Sammarone said.

With Brenda Williams, the city’s chief building official, out of work for extended periods of time with health issues over the past year or so, some of her work fell through the cracks, said Sammarone, Lantz and Charles Shasho, deputy director of the city’s public works department.

The city first contacted Weider about an inspection of the structure in November 2010 after portions of the parking building’s exterior fell onto the street.

A month later, Weider hired i.a. lewin, p.e. and associates of Cleveland to inspect the 200-parking-space, 81,305-square-foot, six-story building.

The report was completed March 30, 2011, and given to the city Aug. 24 of that year, Shasho said. The city informed Weider that the report was “adequate, and to come in for building permits and make the improvements,” Shasho said.

Weider never responded.

“It’s very expensive; I’m trying my best” to find the money for the repairs, Weider said.

Weider bought the building in 2009 for $200,000 and doesn’t own any other property in the area.

Williams discovered Tuesday that the work was never done, inspected the garage and condemned it because of structural deficiencies.

Weider can appeal the decision to the city’s property-maintenance appeals board.

Weider said Williams called “screaming at me that I didn’t get a report to the city when the report was there for months. They want us to do the work right away. There’s nothing in the report that says it’s not structurally sound.”

But the year-old report’s summary states: “There are a number of critical structural issues to be addressed immediately.”

Before hearing from Williams earlier this week, Weider said he was finalizing a contract with AO Construction and Restoration, a Boardman company, to do the work.

“I’m not thinking now of repairs,” Weider said. “I’m thinking of a vicious city fighting with a simple, honest soul. My only focus is to fight them back in court. I have no choice.”

Angel Ortiz, AO’s owner, was looking at the deck Thursday.

The engineer report of the structure, built in 1924, listed 10 categories in which defects were found and repairs recommended.

Problems that were to be resolved six months after the March 30, 2011, report include:

Beams over various ramp areas on multiple levels have lost their concrete cover over the steel reinforcing bars because of moisture and road salt. The beams need to be restructured using a grout mix.

Three columns are splitting because of reinforced steel being corroded. The splits adversely impact the column’s strength, “a critical structural component,” and need to be repaired and wrapped with a carbon-fiber product.

Concrete beams above windows on the east side of the building have deteriorated causing loose concrete and exposed corroded reinforcing steel. That’s damaged window frames, causing some glass panes to break.

Long-term issues include patching a 3-inch-deep hole on the fifth floor, replacing rusted catch basins and making improvements to the walls, columns and beams.


1PhilKidd(188 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Concrete fell from your building onto a public sidewalk over a year ago. Sidewalk blockades have been in place since. No repairs. The inside of the deck looks so unstable I can't believe people pay to park there. Last night, WFMJ filmed cars leaving the building...and a piece of debris fell from from the ceiling on to the vehicle.

According to the article, the parking deck owner (from Brooklyn) was preparing to make the necessary repairs...but now is choosing not to because he doesn't like the way city officials have treated him.

No kidding? Guess what.

We here in Youngstown don't like out of town property owners who allow their structures (which they still make a profit from) to fall into such a state of disrepair that they can be legally condemned.

Welcome to the new Youngstown. Fix your damn building.

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2PhilKidd(188 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

By the way, I hope the city plans to continue to cite and fine Mr. Weider for failing to correct the building and code violations over the period of time he plans to drag out his temper tantrum in court. Let the court impose those in a final judgement as well.

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3city_resident(528 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Even ignoring the character of the building, demolition is a bad idea. It would cost more to demolish the building and pave the vacant lot, than it would to fix it! And, since downtown parking has become a hot comodity lately, it doesn't make sense to demolish a parking structure. The cost of an equivalient new parking structure would be much greater than the cost to repair the existing one.

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4shehateme(10 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

It's easy for people who have nothing vested in downtown to say, "just fix it." these are the people who won't consider giving. $2 of their own money to help fix anything downtown. Picking up cigarette butts and giving your brilliant ideas for what should be done downtown means nothing. Put your money where your mouth is. Actions speak louder than words. Btw, some properties are just lost causes. What is more important, people's safety, or preserving some deteriorated dangerous parking garage? If you're concerned about adequate parking, go on over to Covelli and ride the school bus downtown. If its good enough for VXI, it should be good enough for you.

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5PhilKidd(188 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

SheHateMe: I live downtown (a block from this ugly, public hazard). I pay money to live downtown. I'm also former member of the city's Design Review Committee which is charged with making sure buildings such as this CONDEMNED parking deck - which looks terrible and is literally collapsing in on itself and on public sidewalks - are identified when they violate basic code. In fact, our Mayor feels the same way about this 'brilliant idea'. Others who give a damn about upholding basic standards downtown and throughout this city are justified to feel the same. That 'means something'. In fact, if more people cared in this manner, we probably wouldn't have half the problems we have in Youngstown.

It's time for Youngstown to start standing up for itself. No more taking advantage of this city. We have basic codes and standard. If you own property, you adhere to them. No excuses. Period.

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6walter_sobchak(2591 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Look, Weider purchased the building for $200,000. I don't think he spent that money out of the goodness of his heart. He saw an investment where he could charge for parking. Unfortunately, he should have had the deck inspected prior to buying it. I was in the deck 25 years ago and it was deplorable. They have done a good job cleaning up the sh!tholes in downtown and Phil is correct. Why should he have to do upkeep when this out-of-towner skates with a free pass?

While most of the repairs are for concrete cover on bemas and columns spalling off (which is not a STRUCTURAL problem), the splitting column indicates significant infiltration and corrosion of vertical steel. Big issue here. Also, if exterior fascia is falling off the building, primary supports and/or tie back anchors are failing. While this won't cause the deck to fall, it could definitely kill someone. Would you want to be clumked in the head with a 10# chunk of concrete falling from only 8' above?

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7juggygails(24 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

I agree with all of this except Walters comment that spalling concrete is not a structural issue. If there is exposed corroded rebar it i would call that a structural issue.

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