|By Kevin Leininger, The News-Sentinel,
Fort Wayne, Ind.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
February 24, 2009 - Demolition of the "leaning hotel of Aboite" must begin within 30 days under an order issued today by the Allen County Building Department.
The department, which ordered contractors to stop working on the 80-room Homewood Suites by Hilton hotel at West Jefferson Boulevard and Interstate 69 in Aboite Township after serious construction flaws were discovered in May, gave owner SuperHost Hospitality seven days to sign a contract for demolition, which is expected to cost about $300,000.
SuperHost CEO Ash Lakhany said the company will pay for the demolition and salvage what it can from the uncompleted shell of the existing hotel, part of which has sunk more than four inches because of unstable soil. SuperHost also owns the Hilton Garden Inn next door.
If the owners had not agreed to demolition, the county could have completed the work and added the expense to SuperHost's property tax bills.
By the time inspectors noticed the construction problems, about $2.6 million had already been spent on the $5.4 million project. Because of the bad soil and other problems, cracks developed in elevator towers and other masonry, making the structure unsafe.
The general contractor, Condor Concepts of Elgin, Ill., has been banned from working in Allen County. And in December, the Building Department revoked the license of Allen County contractor Larry Lengacher, whose company handled most of the concrete and masonry work.
Once the shell is removed and the soil stabilized, Lakhany hopes to begin work on a new hotel on the site.
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Copyright (c) 2009, The News-Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Ind.
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