This is what more than $100,000 in city grants and loans and contractor bills had led to -- a wall of fresh plywood covering up years of contention at 6117 Havelock Ave.
Gone are the torn tarps, the police tape, the barriers, the covered walkway and the threat of bricks falling on the sidewalk below.
In their place: two stories of plywood panels sprayed white with a weather barrier, and a sidewalk unobstructed for the first time in years.
“It’s better than it was,” said Josh Wolfe, who manages the hardware store across the street. “But how much longer is it going to take before it gets done?”
It was supposed to be finished in 2009, when the city’s Urban Development Department was giving grants for façade improvements, including $16,400 to a restaurant owner at 6117 Havelock.
But contractors discovered structural problems, and the building started swallowing money. The city made a second grant of $43,000, and then a $20,000 loan. A contractor lost $85,000 on a new roof, believing the city would cover the costs.
The building has sat empty since, first covered in plastic and scaffolding, and then fronted by a covered walkway for two years until the wind blew it into the street. So the city recently hired one contractor to remove unsafe sections of the building’s brick façade, and another to frame it and cover it with plywood.
The city has placed a $20,000 lien against the property to cover its loan, and hopes to recoup the $28,000 it just spent securing the building. But it also doesn’t want to scare away potential new owners with too many old obligations, so it’s not sure it will place a second lien, said Chris Connolly, an assistant city attorney.
“It is important to us that someone acquires the property and fix it up,” he said. “So we’re trying to be flexible.”