According to Tracy code enforcement officer Ana Contreras, the southern and western walls need to be reinforced by owner Denise Hembree before fences can be removed from the building that once houses Helm’s Ale House. The structure has been closed since Oct. 31, when the city ruled it was not safe for inhabitation.
“We agreed to give them 10 days, from tomorrow to July 4, to do all structural reinforcements to ensure the building is safe,” Contreras said. “We worked out an agreement, but we’re holding steadfast. If repairs are not made in the given time, receivership process is the immediate next step.”
If the shoring up project passes city inspection on the morning of July 5, Contreras said the city would grant Hembree an unlimited time period to complete the needed interior repairs.
Hembree said Monday, June 25, that workers will start shoring up the walls Tuesday, June 26.
“My goal all along has been to get the building up and operational as soon as possible,” Hembree said. “I’m happy some progress seems to be being made here.”
Code enforcement officers reportedly identified six damaged trusses above the adjacent former Mexican market, which shared a roof with the restaurant and the restaurant’s northern wall. A week after the restaurant’s closure, a chain link fence was erected around the building by city order, citing a possible danger to the public.
The fence surrounding the building could be removed if work meets city standards, Contreras said. She said it has always been the city’s intention to get the building repaired and back on the market for occupancy.
Even if the work goes well, the fence might not be removed in time for the Fourth of July parade. But the possibility of its removal received applause from the Tracy City Center Association.
TCCA District Manager Janis Couturier said it would be nice to have the fence down in time for the car show sponsored by the partnership of downtown property owners on July 21, which will include activities at that intersection. She said TCCA was aware there had been activity on the building’s repair process, but the organization never received a final word on a deadline.
She hopes to make the car show a signature event for the downtown, replacing the spring wine stroll. She said current plans for the car show include activities spread out from the Central Avenue and 10th Street intersection to the Sixth Street plaza.