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Engineer: Missing anchors caused tile to fall
For the first time in anyone’s memory, holiday lights are decorating the windows of the People’s Bank Building, Downtown. Building owner Jonathan Stark and volunteers decorated the building in time for McKeesport’s Light-Up Night on Wednesday. (Tube City Almanac photo)
Scaffolding will be going up soon on part of the People’s Bank Building as workers replace a tile that fell into Lysle Boulevard on Nov. 27, and make other repairs to the facade.
Owner Jonathan Stark said an engineer visited the site on Monday and determined that each of the tiles was supposed to be secured with four metal anchors. On the tile that fell, two of the anchors were missing or never installed in the first place, Stark said.
The tile fell from the facade on the “annex” of the building that overlooks the corner of Lysle Boulevard and Walnut Street. The annex was reportedly built in the 1940s, after Lysle was widened.
No one was injured when the tile fell, but part of one lane of Lysle was restricted temporarily.
Workers originally thought the tiles were made of a masonry material called “ashlar,” but Stark said Wednesday that on closer inspection, the tiles are an engineered “sandwich” of ashlar, metal and another material, possibly granite or some other natural stone.
Stark said his crews will be erecting scaffolding on the corner of the building in preparation to install new metal anchors in each of the tiles.
Built in sections beginning in 1906, the People’s Bank Building housed offices for doctors, attorneys and other professionals for more than 90 years until it was divested by its then-owner, the former Integra Bank of Pittsburgh.
It was donated to the city, then sold to a private developer and later wound up in foreclosure.
Stark purchased the building in June and is remediating and repairing the upper floors and updating the mechanical systems. Possible tenants have expressed interest in renting space in the building, he said.
Jason Togyer is the editor of The Tube City Almanac and volunteer executive director of Tube City Community Media Inc. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published December 05, 2019.