Vallejo apartment building at risk of collapsing

March 26, 2010 11:42:53 AM PDT
Residents of a Vallejo apartment building could be forced to move out if the owner doesn't meet a looming deadline. City officials say if the owner doesn't begin making repairs within that time frame, the residents will be forced to leave for their own safety.

The building sits at the corner of Sonoma Boulevard and Virginia Street.

The building owner and his structural engineer arrived at Vallejo City Hall on Friday morning. The chief building official is reviewing their emergency repair plan the leaning building. If the plan is approved, the tenants in the building will not have to move by today's 5 p.m. deadline.

The two-story 80-year-old building in downtown Vallejo has a very, visible structural problem. The north-facing wall is bowing in due to dry rot and fatigue.

Inspectors believe that water damage has not only compromised the supporting wall, but some of the 17 studio apartments where tenants live above. The businesses below are also considered in danger.

The city launched an investigation last November, and notified the building's owner Jonothan Benefield of Calistoga that it considered the wall a safety hazard and that a fix was required.

After nearly four months of little progress, the city decided to take action, posting a 48-hour notice to begin the fix, or the residential and business tenants would have to move out by today.

"We weren't getting the response that we had requested in our letters to the owner, so we had to unfortunately take a more aggressive approach to provide public safety to the tenants," Gary West from the Vallejo Building Division said.

"Safety, money issue, the people they live upstairs and I'm there with my family. My son, my daughter and my husband, we all work as a family business so of course it hurts," tenant Eva Peralta

Peralta owns Primavera Boutique. She just found a new space to lease just around the corner. She will be able to keep her business, which has been around for nine years, in the downtown area.

Benefield spoke to ABC7 on the phone and he said this is an issue he believes the media and the city has 'overblown,' and he said he is there taking care of the situation.

The city said that over the years, Benefield has been known for having building issues. He also owns the Oroville Inn, and that too has had some problems.


Load Comments