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Albert Lea's Tallest Building in Need of Repairs

July 09, 2019 11:02 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- It's one of the most prominent features on the skyline, and at nearly 50 years old, the Shady Oaks high rise apartment building in Albert Lea is showing its age, and last winter didn't help. Today, Albert Lea’s tallest building needs some repairs.

"Last fall we had noticed the flashing up on the roof just didn't look right, and we actually had a couple of water leaks in the building and pinpointed that it was the flashing and then as we got looking some of the mortar and stuff had disappeared out of the brick joints,” said Bob Meaney, maintenance supervisor for the eight-story Shady Oaks Apartment building. “And with the bad winter we had last year, with the snow load and just the moisture, in general, it caused it to shift and get worse."

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So an architectural firm was called in to take a look at the building.

"They are recommending about a $1.2 million fix,"  said Kristi Brutlag, Albert Lea finance director and interim executive director of the Albert Lea Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

One of the concerns is the potential for falling bricks, and while it’s not happening now: “We do have safety nets and stuff set up in the corners. The corners seem to be the worst on the east side," Meaney said.

Shady Oaks was built in 1972. It has 126 one-bedroom apartments and is nearly always filled.

And with repairs mounting: "Yes, another winter would make it worse," Meaney said.

The Albert Lea HRA has started looking for ways to finance the necessary repairs, including the possibility of a temporary fix to buy some time.

"And when we talk temporary, we're talking about a fix that would be at least a three year fix, so we could get it fixed, all the safety issues addressed and get a fix that would last two or three years until we can figure out exactly how we're going to fund a $1.2 million project," Brutlag said.

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Dan Conradt

Copyright 2019 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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