After recent structural testing inside the 1020 E Union building, project developer Alliance Realty Partners discovered the brick’s mortar was much weaker than they had expected. A spokesperson for Alliance tells CHS the plan is now to remove every brick, ship it off site for cleaning, and reassemble the building facade using fresh mortar and as many of the original bricks as possible.
“We don’t know how much brick will be savable,” Alliance rep Jeanne Muir said. “Our best guess is 80%.”
The auto-row era building, along with four other preserved structures, is being redeveloped into Broadstone Capitol Hill — a project that includes 250 residential units and more than 12,000 square feet of commercial space. The Ankrom Moisan-designed project will climb seven stories in the two main portions of the new buildings.
On Friday, as the first day of the Capitol Hill Block Party rumbled nearby, construction workers began painstakingly disassembling each brick on the 1915-built, two-story E Union building. Developers had long struggled with the city and a neighborhood preservation group to agree on a plan to preserve the building.
Muir said the original brick mortar was crumbling throughout the building, causing sand to pile up behind the walls. She said the de/re-bricking would not significantly extend the project deadline.
The developers will not have to go back through a design review process as the building design has not changed. “It might look a little less funky,” Muir said.
Muir said this is the first time Alliance has ever managed a project that included reassembling a brick facade. It may be the first auto-row era building to undergo such a process for preservation.
“The goal is to repair it for the next 100 years,” she said. “This does not change our commitment to the neighborhood.”
Last year developers presented a plan that would have replaced the building at 10th and Union with a seven-story brick structure as part of the mixed-use apartment project. The plans were eventually changed, in-part thanks to the efforts of the Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Coalition, as well as several urban design review meetings, including one 3-hour marathon session last June.
Alliance is using zoning incentives that allows developers to build bigger if they preserve certain structures. There are four character structures currently preserved in the Pike/Pine project. Initially, Alliance did not plan to save all the structures, leading to a drawn out design review process. Alliance eventually made a compromise to save the building. The episode was the catalyst for a new set of proposed preservation incentives being rolled out this summer by council members Tom Rasmussen and Sally Clark.