The owners of the building at 714 Central Ave., which had been the home of The Great Plate Bar and Grill prior to its closure five years ago because of a long list of building code violations, have a new deadline to bring the building up to code.
San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Robert T. Waters signed a Final Judgment Pursuant to Stipulation on May 20, which requires that BBS Adventures, LLC, owner of the building, to resolve the matter within 90 days. Should that August deadline come and go with no action the judge’s order authorizes the city to tear down the building and send the demolition bill to BBS Adventures.
Tracy City Attorney Leticia Ramirez said that this could be the final word on the lawsuit that the city filed against the building owner in August 2018, considering that stipulated judgments are agreed upon by both parties.
Brad Albom, one of the owners with BBS Adventures, said on Tuesday that he agreed to the judgment and intends to comply with the city’s order. Albom said he plans to restore the building so that it can be occupied again but has consistently run up against obstacles in the city’s code enforcement and building divisions.
“We’re trying desperately to complete that, if the city will allow us to,” he said.
Albom said that with each attempt to complete work on the building the city has put up additional requirements that have delayed or prevented the work, resulting in missed deadlines. He said that plans to complete repairs and applications for building permits, some submitted a year ago, are presently with the city, and he has a contractor lined up to do the work.
“The repair work they’re demanding would have been done long ago,” he said. “They’ve been dragging out approval of the plans for months.”
“We had a structural engineer, and his plan is approved, but they keep coming up with things that we have to do,” he added. “The contractor says once we get the permits it will only take 6 weeks.”
City spokeswoman Carissa Lucas confirmed that BBS Adventures has submitted plans to make repairs to some of the identified structural deficiencies of the building but the city has not approved those plans pending corrections that need to be made to those documents.
“The City is currently waiting for the applicant to respond to the outstanding corrections,” she wrote in an email to the Tracy Press.
Regardless of what happens by the end of August, BBS Adventures will still own the property, whether it’s a restored building or a vacant lot.
If BBS Adventures is able to restore the building, Albom said his company’s intention is to sell it for a new use. He said that BBS Adventures presently has a letter of intent from a potential user who hopes to open a cannabis dispensary at the site.
The 100-year-old building has been a center of contention between the owners and the city since December 2008, when a city building inspector found cracks in the building’s unreinforced masonry walls as well as electrical code violations. At the time The Great Plate had been a popular downtown restaurant and bar for about 10 years, the latest use for a building that has stood on the 700 block of Central Avenue since November 1921.
Additional building code violations were revealed over the next several years, including the brick façade separating from the front entry way, damaged floor joists on the second floor, a chimney that is leaning and in danger of falling over on the south side of the building, as well as problems with the building’s foundation.
In March 2016 the city ordered the building to be closed and vacated. The building owners appealed the order, as well as a second order issued in October 2017. By June 2018, following additional appeals by BBS Adventures and a public meeting with building owners Albom and Brandon Perry, the Tracy City Council passed a resolution setting a timeline of up to 90 days for specific code violations to be corrected.
The city then filed suit in August 2018, stating that the building owners still had not complied with the most recent order to correct the building’s code violations. The matter has been with the court since then.
• Contact Bob Brownne at email@example.com, or call 209-830-4227