ORG borrows $100K for Bent’s repair

Posted 9 October 2013 at 12:00 am

Provided photo – This photo shows the deteriorated main structural beam on the southwest corner of Bent’s Opera House in Medina.

Press release
Orleans Renaissance Group

MEDINA – The Orleans Renaissance Group, owner of the former Bent’s Opera House, announced today that they have received $100,000 emergency loan from the Preservation League of New York State. The funds will be used immediately to address the main structural support timber on the building’s southeast corner.

Chris Busch, vice president of ORG, said the organization is “extremely grateful” for the support of the Preservation League.

“They recognize the regional importance and viability of this project, and we owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude for their advocacy,” he said.

The removal of the faux stone and facia last year revealed a critical concern: the condition of the main support timber on what was the former Armstrong’s Drug Store has rotted to the point where the structural integrity of the building could be compromised.

“This huge wooden timber is nearly 150 years old,” Busch said.“Prior to removing the faux stone, we were only guessing as to what caused the dramatic settling around the southeast corner of the building. Once the stone was removed, we saw that we needed to act quickly in professionally assessing the deterioration.”

The deterioration has been an issue for decades.

Photo by Tom Rivers – The Bent’s Opera House opened in the Civil War. The building was built with Medina sandstone.

“It’s a miracle the masonry wall on that corner had not suffered a much greater and more calamitous compromise,” Busch said.

ORG engaged engineer Don Jensen of Jensen Engineering in Rochester who determined that the vast majority of the old beam was fine and in remarkable condition. The entire southeast section, however, requires immediate replacement with steel using a specialized process called “needling.”

“The most pressing concern right now is addressing the beam,” Busch said. “No further work on the façade can take place until that has been corrected.”

ORG has engaged Peter Matthews of Matthews House Movers in Rochester to replace the beam. Matthews will be in Medina today to begin installing rigging or “cribbing” to stabilize the building prior to repairs.

“We hope to have this phase of façade work completed soon and to possibly effect some additional façade restoration as well,” Busch said. “ORG wants folks to know that important progress is being made everyday in bringing Bent’s back to life.”

The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council last month included the Bent’s restoration as a recommended project for state funding. ORG is seeking state assistance for a major roof repair for the building. An announcement from the state is expected in December.