PORTSMOUTH — Engineers hired by the owner of the 1850 Times building on State Street say it is too costly to try to rebuild the fire-damaged structure.
Michael Sievert of MJS Engineering in Newmarket, states that “due to the extensive fire damage and age of construction, it will be nearly impossible and cost prohibitive to reconstruct the building while keeping only the exterior walls.”
“In addition, any new structure support system required will encroach upon the interior space of the existing structure to provide support to the exterior walls,” Sievert states in a letter to building owner Peter Floros. “It is my opinion that the structural integrity and public safety can be better achieved by demolishing the entire building and reconstructing a new building in the same location meeting the current building codes.”
The Historic District Commission has scheduled a public hearing for July 24 on Floros’ request to demolish the building at 278 State St.
The building is included in the city’s recent listing on the National Historic Register.
The April 10 fire which damaged the building, also destroyed the adjacent State Street Saloon.
The city hired JSN Associates of Portsmouth shortly after the fire to get a structural engineer’s opinion on whether it was safe to let firefighters inside the fire-damaged building.
The engineers also looked at if “demolition would be required or if structural rehabilitation could be appropriate,” according to report filed by Jeffrey Nawrocki on April 13.
Nawrocki visited the building with the city’s Chief Building Inspector Robert Marsilia a day after the fire.
He reported that he saw bricks that were knocked loose as firefighters fought the blaze, but the most serious damage occurred on the roof, where the rear portion was “destroyed.”
“On our second visit, we verified that the damage to the roof structure is quite severe in the…