Report holds next steps for Pan Am Plaza garage

Part of the Pan Am Plaza parking garage has reopened after being closed for several hours for emergency repairs late last week, but more extensive work is likely needed to restore the garage to a structurally sound state.

City officials expect to receive a report early this week detailing what additional steps must be taken to address structural concerns at the garage in downtown Indianapolis. The department closed a 120-space section of the garage and the public plaza above it on Sept. 14. Those areas remain closed pending release of that report. More than 1,000 spots in the garage remained open.

Indianapolis’ Department of Code Enforcement closed the southeastern part of the garage after citing safety concerns posed by possible structural deficiencies in that area.

Since then, locally based engineering firm Janssen & Spaans Engineering Inc. has been evaluating the garage to determine what long-terms steps are needed to ensure that it’s sound for public use.

Last Friday, the engineering firm and Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement closed the entire garage to address a more immediate problem: loose concrete that could have fallen off the beams, striking vehicles or people in the garage. Denison Parking, which operates the garage for New York-based owner Dali Associates LP, commissioned a crew to remove the loose concrete and haul it away. The garage reopened on Saturday.

Once the department reviews Janssen & Spaans’ report – probably Tuesday or Wednesday – code enforcement will determine what steps are needed to move forward, said Kate Johnson, a spokeswoman for the department.

Whether the work will be handled by Dali Associates, plaza owner Kite Realty or a combination of the two will depend on the source of the damage.

“Our goal is safety, so whatever the owners need to do to take full advantage of the facilities is on them,” Johnson said. She added that the city could step in to help address any issues with the garage that were considered to pose an immediate safety threat.

Myra Borshoff Cook, a principal at local public relations firm Borshoff & Associates who is representing Dali, said the recent concrete issue was more cosmetic than structural, but it needed to be addressed immediately because falling concrete posed a hazard. She said there was a push to address it right away because of events taking place over the weekend, including the Circle City Classic.

The garage, at Capitol Avenue and Georgia Street, serves patrons of the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium, Cook said.

Johnson said Janssen & Spaans’ structural evaluation focused on the three levels of the garage and also included a visual inspection of Pan Am plaza.

As IBJ reported last month, Dali has been in legal battles with owners of the plaza and previous garage operators over who is responsible for addressing problems caused by water leaks into the structure.

Code enforcement’s preliminary inspection showed the recently identified problems, which include damage to fasteners that hold ceiling beams against the garage wall, to be the result of water seepage and temperature changes.

Cook said that Dali, as owner of the garage, would be responsible for repairs related to the garage, but she expected the company would work with Kite, depending on what has caused the damage.

“Obviously, they have to work together,” Cook said. “I think everything will be much clearer when we see the final report.”

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