City Plans to Hire Cleveland Firm for Realty Tower Structural Analysis

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The city of Youngstown plans to contract a Cleveland-based firm to conduct a structural analysis of the Realty Tower, downtown, which was devastated by a natural gas line explosion last week.

The city’s Board of Control will consider a request to pay Barber & Hoffman, Consulting Engineers, $7,500 to provide “miscellaneous structural engineering services related to Realty Tower” at its meeting Thursday morning.

The May 28 explosion obliterated the Chase Bank branch on the building’s ground floor, killing one of the bank’s employees and injuring seven other individuals. Tenants of the building’s 23 apartment units remain unable to reenter the property until a structural analysis determines whether reentry is safe.

In addition, the adjacent Stambaugh Building remains closed by order of the city fire chief because of concerns that the damaged Realty Tower might tip north onto the building. The recently renovated building contains the DoubleTree by Hilton Youngstown Downtown hotel, the Bistro 1907 restaurant and a Huntington Bank branch.   

According to its website, Barber & Hoffman, which has operated since 1934, “is a premier structural engineering firm serving the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states.” Registered to operate in 16 states, it has offices in Cleveland, Columbus and Cranberry Township, Pa.

Projects on its website include Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, University Hospitals’ Ahuja Medical Center – Drusinsky Sports Medicine Institute and, locally, the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County’s recent Main Library renovation. The firm served as structural engineer on the library project, a library spokesman said.

Pictured at top: The damaged Realty Tower in downtown Youngstown.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.