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J. Press Deemed “Unsafe”

by Melissa Bailey | Feb 12, 2013 8:02 pm

(5) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Downtown, Winter Storm Nemo

A downtown clothing store was forced to shut its doors Tuesday, becoming the second building to take a serious hit from Winter Storm Nemo, according to city Building Official Andy Rizzo.

The 34 inches of snow from the storm put J. Press, a high-end men’s clothier in Yale’s Broadway shopping district, in danger of collapse, Rizzo reported Tuesday afternoon.

The building was evacuated safely; Rizzo ordered it closed.

Rizzo said he showed up at the three-story building at 262 York St. at 11 a.m. Tuesday to meet with J. Press’s structural engineer. The brick building is over a century old. It’s owned by J. Press Incorporated, which Rizzo described as a Japanese LLC based in New York.

“The building had been having some problems over the last several months,” Rizzo said. “Portions of the building and floors were sagging.” Portions of the facade on third floor were pulling away from the building, which was indicative of “structural failing.”
Rizzo determined “there was a possibility of collapse.”

“I declared it unsafe” and ordered it closed, he said.

Rizzo said J. Press was already planning to relocate its store elsewhere in the city, though not for another month or so.

Parker Collins Photo No one lives in the building, Rizzo said. So the evacuation did not involve relocating families, unlike Monday night, when snow put a Westville apartment building in danger of collapse, displacing 25 people.

Rizzo reported that the owners of that Westville building, 335 Fountain St., got up on the roof Tuesday to remove snow and “shore up the roof.” Tenants were allowed to get back in to retrieve belongings, and they may get to move back in.

“The building will be saved,” Rizzo said.

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posted by: Another Downtowner on February 12, 2013  9:07pm

Please, please, PLEASE Andy Rizzo, don’t force this property owner to demolish this historic building. New Haven has a much lower threshhold for ordering demolitions than other cities, which explains why so many important and beautiful structures have been needlessly lost over the last 20 years. This building is not only a landmark due to J. Press, it’s also an elegant building that helps to form a continuous stretch of historic facades on York Street—a very rare asset in New Haven, where so many commercial streets have gap-toothed holes where buildings should be. Andy, we know you need to do your job, and you’re good at it, but in this case, could you please work out a way for the property owner—with quick City approval and cooperation—to shore up the building and save this valuable historic resource?

posted by: Stylo on February 12, 2013  10:21pm

It’s such a cool building, please take care of it.

posted by: robn on February 12, 2013  10:33pm

Venice has severe structural damage imparted every year by flooding and yet their buildings survive.  This is due to a respect for the past.

posted by: HhE on February 13, 2013  9:51am

In the meantime, let me help.  You can store all the size large sweaters at my house.  Also, if you need help with size 44 coats, I got your back.

posted by: anonymous on February 13, 2013  12:54pm

The building would be saved if it were a priority.

The Mayor, President of Yale, and elected officials need to step in to make sure it can happen. 

We can’t afford to keep losing our historic fabric because of what, in other countries, would be considered routine issues.  Even Warsaw rebuilt itself after the city center was completely leveled during the war.

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