Moisture buildup caused an exterior piece of the First Bank National Tower to loosen and then fall 200 feet to the ground, according to an engineering report.
Cuyahoga Engineering & Surveying Services of Mayfield Heights examined the facade of the building at 1 Central Federal St.
Lou Frangos, owner of the building, had the review done at the request of Mayor Charles Sammarone.
The mayor praised Frangos for reacting quickly to his request to hire an engineer to determine what happened and what is needed for it to be fixed.
The moisture got behind the exterior stone masonry, and the mortar holding it on to the building isn’t waterproof, the report states.
“This water will freeze and thaw during the winter months, and sooner or later, these freeze-thaw cycles will break down the mortar bond,” the report states.
“Any exterior force, such as wind, will move the building and cause deformation,” according to the report.
The company is recommending Frangos use epoxy cement and waterproof caulking to keep the stone on the building, and an inspection of the rest of the building’s exterior to make sure no other bonding issues exist.
City officials will meet shortly with Frangos and his representatives, Sammarone said, and the improvement work should take a few weeks.
Frangos couldn’t be reached Monday by The Vindicator to comment. But he said last week that the repairs should be done shortly after the report.
This is the third downtown building in the past few months to have exterior portions fall to the ground. The others are A-1 Parking deck at 23 W. Boardman St. and the Wick Building at 34 W. Federal St.