Officials investigating integrity of facade on downtown building

Aug. 30, 2018

Sioux Falls police have blocked off Phillips Avenue between 10th and 11th streets while firefighters investigate an issue with the brick facade of the building that houses Vishnu Bunny, Primp and Palmer Lea boutiques.

Firefighters arrived on the scene about 12:45 p.m.

Steve Fessler, division chief with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, said firefighters and city engineers are looking at the facade of the building, which is leaning out.

“The facade just seems to be letting go in the front of the building,” which includes the addresses 202, 204 and 206 S. Phillips Ave.

No bricks have fallen off the facade, but that’s the concern, Fessler said.

“It’s solid brick, and if that would let go, that would be a lot of brick and weight coming down.”

Firefighters have cordoned off the sidewalk in front of the businesses and Coffea Roasterie, which is in the adjacent building at the intersection with 10th. The two buildings have been evacuated.

The building’s owner will bring in a contractor “to take a look at it and get it shored up,” Fessler said. It does not appear to be a structural issue, he said.

The block of Phillips will be closed “for a while yet,” he said.

Susan Scott, who owns the section of the building that includes Vishnu Bunny and Primp, was on the scene at 3:15 p.m. with Walter Ree Masonry Construction, watching as concrete barricades were being unloaded to block off the parking spots.

She said she doesn’t know yet the extent of the work to be done or how long the businesses will have to be closed. The shops have rear entrances that could be used.

Shortly before 3:45 p.m, a brace was hoisted up against the facade at Vishnu Bunny.

Coffea Roasterie posted on its Facebook page that it would reopen at 4:30 p.m.

“They’ve secured the Vishnu/Primp building, but our patio and sidewalk on Phillips will be closed for construction. Please use the side door on 10th Street.”

Several pedestrians were in the area over the noon hour with the opening today of Lewis Drug and Sanford Clinic to the north across 10th Street. Those businesses are in a new building that replaced one that collapsed in December 2016, killing one person and trapping another for hours.

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Officials investigating integrity of facade on downtown building

Here’s an update from a fire division chief on what’s happening at a downtown building.

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