Architect recommends demolition of old city hall

Written by Emily Bell on . Posted in Local

An architect hired to evaluate Port Allen’s old city hall, police station and fire station at 710 N. Jefferson Ave. is recommending that the city demolish the aging structure.

“I would think it’d be a lot cheaper to knock the building down than it would be to renovate,” Architect Justin Altazan of Third Coast Architecture said Wednesday, June 11 at the Port Allen city council meeting.

Altazan’s official report, complete with environmental testing by Professional Service Industries Inc. (PSI), estimates his “total opinion of possible cost” of selective demolition and abatement and renovation at $679,000.

Of that total, Altazan estimates $15,300 to first remove asbestos from the structure.

The roof, which sustained shingle damage during Hurricane Gustav in 2008, may cost the city $132,000 to replace, according to Altazan’s estimate.

Altazan said the cost of renovation is “quite large for a building of that age.” The structure was built in 1953. The council room and some administrative offices were added in 1976. It underwent renovations again in 1993 and 1998, according to the report.

The city moved to the current city hall in 2007 but continues to insure the vacant old city hall, Chief Administrative Officer Adrian Genre said.

The Port Allen city council heard Altazan’s report but did not take any decisive action on the structure at the meeting and moved on to the next agenda item.

The Port Allen city council also unanimously approved the city budgets for the 2014-2015 fiscal year and a gradual increase in garbage rates over the next two years beginning July 1, 2014 until the city no longer subsidizes a portion of the rates.

Genre said the city charges about $17 per customer but, really, Progressive Waste Solutions charges the city about $20 per customer.

CFO Audrey McCain said, “Whatever they’re charging us … that’s what the customers will be charged.”

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