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Jim Grafft, owner of Janesville’s Monterey Hotel, has signed an agreement to make fixes the city of Janesville require to the building. The city had issue a raze-or-repair order in September for the iconic property in the city's downtown.

JANESVILLE

Jim Grafft has signed off on an agreement for repairs the city requires to bring the Monterey Hotel back from the brink of demolition.

According to documents obtained by The Gazette, Grafft on Wednesday signed a compliance agreement for repairs the city ordered to the iconic, six-story hotel downtown. The city placed the Monterey under a raze-or-repair order in September.

The city had given Grafft until Wednesday to agree to a six-month deadline to make a slew of fixes, including work to mend the building’s roof, fixes to the building’s crumbling exterior and repairs to internal structural supports in a one-story section of the building.

City property inspections suggest supports in the one-story section have been damaged by water infiltration to the point that part of the historic building could be at risk of collapse.

City inspections show the roof has leaked chronically, damaging the interior of the building, including metal structural supports. The roof must be repaired by May 31, according to the agreement.

Grafft has until July 31 to fix structural supports in the building, according to the agreement.

If Grafft makes good on the fixes and adheres to timelines the city has laid out, it would allay the city’s threat of demolition.

Tom Clippert, city building director, called Grafft’s signing of the repair agreement “a step in the right direction to bring the building into code compliance.”

Clippert signed off on the agreement Thursday, according to a copy The Gazette obtained. It was the culmination of three months of back-and-forth correspondence between the city and Grafft.

The city in recent weeks had sought detailed work plans and timelines from Grafft as well as financial assurances Grafft could tackle the work required.

Under the agreement, Grafft is required to attend monthly meetings with the city’s building department and give status updates on work at the Monterey. Under the agreement, Clippert said, the city has the right to inspect the hotel at any time during work.

Clippert said it’s not often the city puts properties under raze-or-repair orders, and it’s even less often the city requires an owner to meet with the city monthly for status reports after the owner agrees to repairs.

Clippert said the “scope of the projects” required to fix the hotel—which amount to at least $114,000, according to estimates Grafft submitted—seemed to require the city keeping close tabs on the process.

The city is awaiting a required report detailing the Monterey’s structural integrity. Grafft this month hired a local architect to check supports in the one-story section of the building the city had flagged in inspections. Clippert said he has not seen the structural report, but the agreement requires Grafft to supply the city copies of work contracts for required structural repairs by Feb. 1.

It’s not clear how much structural repairs might cost. In October, Grafft supplied the city a note from a local bank that said Grafft had “adequate funds” up to $250,000 for repairs to the Monterey Hotel.

Clippert said he has not talked with the Grafft family since Grafft submitted the signed agreement this week. Beyond monthly meetings, Clippert said he’s unsure how much dialogue the city and the Grafft might have over repairs.

“It depends on how the project is going, what the structural report shows, and what other plans they submit from the (structural) report. It’s hard for me to speculate at this point. Right now, (the focus) is just to try to keep the bridge of conversation open. Each of these (repair) projects can run different courses,” Clippert said.

In a notice Clippert sent Grafft earlier this month, he included the repair compliance agreement Grafft has since signed, but Clippert also supplied a draft raze order that could have gone into effect if Grafft had not agreed to the city’s required fixes and the deadlines.

Clippert said Grafft signing the agreement signals the Monterey is in line for fixes rather than demolition.

“As long as they meet the timelines set in the compliance agreement that has been agreed to and we have our monthly meetings and we see progress, that’s really what we’re looking for at this point,” Clippert said.

Britten Langfoss, who is the daughter of Jim Grafft, on Thursday told The Gazette the Grafft family plans to move forward on the fixes to the hotel as outlined in the city’s repair agreement.

“We’re working toward achievement of the goals set forth in the agreement,” Langfoss said.

Langfoss declined to comment further.

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