New London - The left traffic lane in front of 27 Bank St. will remain closed at least through the weekend until an engineer can shore up the interior of the building to prevent anything else from falling.
The lane of traffic has been closed since last week, when several window panes popped out of the building's fourth floor and crashed to the sidewalk below, narrowly missing two pedestrians.
A blocked roof drain caused several hundred gallons of water to pool on the flat roof, according to Acting Building Official Jamie Salmon. The weight of the water caused the plaster ceiling to cave in and smash the windows.
Salmon said he has led contractors on about four walkthroughs of the building, and expects two bids for the project. Salmon said he hopes to have the bids in this week and to have the contractors begin repairs "as soon as possible" once he knows the cost.
The building is being sold during a tax sale at 10 a.m. today in the City Council chambers in City Hall.
Tax Collector Maureen Farrell said the building owner owes the city $8,456.19 in taxes plus state marshal fees. The opening bid at the tax sale will be $13,569.24, Farrell said, and liens will be placed on the property to secure payment for any work the city does since the ceiling collapse.
An inspection of the property last week revealed that the building's parapet, a low wall that extends above the front of the roof, is in "less than good condition," Salmon said.
Last week, the 12 windows of the building were boarded up by the city's Public Works Department, Salmon said, and scaffolding was erected so the sidewalk could reopen to pedestrian traffic.
There is no parking directly across from the building in front of The Commoner restaurant and Lost Souls, a tattoo shop, Salmon said, and cars there are being ticketed and towed by police.
The property is owned by Five Star Investment, whose owners are delinquent on its taxes.
Salmon said the building's owner is Michael Chiu, who has been hard to reach. The city originally thought there was a different owner, Salmon said, who denied owning the building.