The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Old Three Bears building is falling down

Un-shoveled roof is caving in while front of building splinters


Valdez Star photo

The Valdez Fire Dept. placed cautionary ribbon around the old Three Bears building as a warning.

So what does the city do when a privately-owned building appears to be falling down?

That is the question facing city officials after the roof on the old Three Bears building on Egan Street partially collapsed under its snow load. The center of the roof began to visibly cave in Tuesday and later in the week the buildings arctic entryway began pulling away from the main building.

“Right now we’re waiting for the owners to deal with this,” Lisa Von Bargen, the city’s director of economic development said Monday afternoon.

City records indicate the building is owned by Janice Reynolds, who along with husband Larry Reynolds, have seen their share of troubles the past year.

The city’s trouble? According to Von Bargen, the building’s insurance carrier had already hired Jesse Gobeli, whom the City of Valdez has traditionally contracted with for its structural engineering needs.

“The city is trying to get a structural engineer here,” Von Bargen said.

The building remained mostly un-shoveled this winter, despite the well-publicized record snows in December and January.

While no snow load weight was available specifically for the building, the National Weather Service pegs the weight of undisturbed snow in Valdez to weigh 94.5 pounds per square inch.

“Obviously, we work with the owner to make sure the building isn’t a public health risk,” Von Bargen said. Next, making sure the building’s obvious dilapidated state does not pose a threat to neighboring buildings.

“…we work with the property owner to develop an acceptable plan for abatement of the unsafe structure whether that be through repair or demolition,” Von Bargen later said in an email following Monday’s Interview. “That determination will be made by a structural engineer.”

Problems to neighboring properties began immediately.

Landsharks Bar and No Name Pizza, both homed in the neighboring small strip-mall type building to the immediate right of the collapsing building, were shut down for over two days because the buildings share a single water line. The water and electricity were turned off as a safety precaution.

“We spent quite a bit of time with both owners,” Von Bargen said, in the end, coming up with a simple solution.

Valdez Star photo

The arctic entry to the old Three Bears building appears to be slowly detaching itself from the main building after the center of the roof collapsed inside.

“They turned the water back on,” Von Bargen said.

Landsharks reopened Friday night, much to the relief of its employees and regulars alike.

The future of the building will be determined by reports from the structural engineers, Von Bargen said.

She also said there was an unconfirmed visit by the insurance company’s structural engineer slated for Tuesday. Reynolds was unavailable to confirm this.

Whether the building will be razed or repaired depends on the reports from the structural engineers Von Bargen said.


Reader Comments

Oletimmer writes:

Poor Reynolds? Seriously! He is a lier and has tried to swindle everyone. Does no one else find this odd that he is in legal problems to his eyeballs so a boat sinks, no one shovels the roof? Even a good ol boy from Texas should know better. Insurance fraud!


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