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Fractured masonry puts landmark Thacher building in danger of closure

Published: Sep. 25, 2020 at 10:21 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Three downtown Topeka businesses are in the process of moving out.

Prairie Glass Studio, Juli’s Coffee and Bistro, and Gizmo Pictures have called the Thacher building home for years. The building itself has stood tall as a downtown landmark for 132 years.

Jeff Carson is the co-owner of Gizmo Pictures, which bought the building ten years ago.

He says the foundation is rock-solid, but upstairs on the second floor, the west walls are slowly shifting inward.

“It’s been that way since we moved in - so it had done that little bit of a bend ... It hasn’t moved since so it gives you an idea of what we’re talking about,” he said.

He says about a year and a half ago the bending turned to cracking.

“The masonry just failed in one of these pilasters or columns between these big windows, the engineer said we’ve got to fix that,” Carson said.

Juli’s Coffee and Bistro is in the process of moving to another location on Kansas Avenue. It’s a challenge but the owner, Kelly Edkin, is undeterred.

“The universe does what it wants. It’s our job as top of the food chain to react to that and innovate," she said.

Carson says the fix for Thacher is expensive.

“We’ve been looking for the solution to fund the repair - it’s a $400,000 repair," he said.

If they can’t come up with the cash soon, the building could be condemned.

Carson says they’re working on a solution, and hopes the move-outs are only temporary.

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