Elgin Tower Building elevators still in operation, inspection is Tuesday

Updated 2/19/2013 5:25 AM
  • The Elgin Tower Building needs to pass elevator inspections Tuesday or tenants on the upper floors will have one week to pack up their things and leave.

      The Elgin Tower Building needs to pass elevator inspections Tuesday or tenants on the upper floors will have one week to pack up their things and leave. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

The elevators inside the 85-year-old Elgin Tower Building are allowed to operate, at least for now.

The historic building's two manually operated elevators faced condemnation because they're overdue for their annual inspection. The city deadline to have it done was 4 p.m. Monday.

But Elgin Community Development Director Marc Mylott lifted the deadline because the building's leadership has scheduled the inspection for 8 a.m. Tuesday.

"We were willing to await the results of that test before proceeding to placard the elevators or take any other enforcement action," Mylott said late Monday. "The timing difference is minimal."

Mylott said one elevator should have had its inspection in February 2011 while the second was due June 2012.

The city contracts with Thompson Elevator Inspection Services Inc. in Mount Prospect, representatives of which Mylott said had been communicating with Elgin Tower Building operators since the inspections became overdue.

"Finally they turned it over to the city for enforcement," Mylott said.

The city issued its final notice Jan. 11 giving The Stickling Foundation 30 days, until Feb. 15, to comply with the property maintenance code. The William R. Stickling Charitable Foundation has been maintaining the structure since 1999.

Neal Pitcher, who serves on the foundation's board of directors, said Tuesday's inspection is expected to last between 60 and 90 minutes.

To avoid getting in anyone's way, they'll inspect one elevator at a time.

"No one will be inconvenienced," Pitcher said.

A report is expected to be ready the same day, Mylott said.

If the elevators fail the inspection, tenants on all but the ground floors will be given seven days to make other work accommodations. In that week, they will be able to access their offices with the stairs.

"Were all hoping that Thompson says that the elevators are safe and the tenants can get back to business as usual," Mylott said.

Since the Tower Building elevators are also due for a more expensive five-year inspection in May, Pitcher said the foundation had planned to get both done at once. He said the delay came because of cost.

"We're a small charitable organization running the building," Pitcher said. "With the recession, we've had a lot of tenants who have gone under and money's been a little tight."

Pitcher estimated the test could cost as much at $6,000.

A board member of the Downtown Neighborhood Association agreed to donate money for the test last week, according to Jason Pawlowski, DNA managing director.

The Tower Building, the tallest building in Elgin, was built in 1928. Its elevators are original to the building, Pitcher said.

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