Ormsby House Renovation Photos – October, 2003

October started out with dark clouds swirling around the Ormsby House. The owners, frustrated with delays and the red tape coming from the city, had just days earlier announced their intention to cut their losses and demolish the building. This came as quite a shock to everyone, especially since just the week before that they had started encasing the hotel tower in scaffolding. You can read about the whole thing here. So much scrambling ensued, and an emergency meeting was called between the owners and the city during the first few days of October. The owners presented their concerns, the city caved on every one of their demands, and everybody came out happy. The demolition permit was pulled, and construction crews came back to the site, determined to work faster than ever.

Okay, so the pace didn’t pick up much at all after that little fracas. Weeks still go by with very little visible progress. But some important steps were taken during October, involving both demoltion and construction. Demolition pictures first, since demolition is always more fun.

The big demolition project for October was to tear apart the second floor in the back. Workmen ferociously attacked the addition, which previously housed seating for the buffet. The roof was torn off first, then they started in on the walls.

Debris spills out of every opening as the workmen regroup to plan their next move.

Here’s a closeup of the second floor. On the right you can see the old drywall that they were removing; on the left you can see a skinny metal frame, which was the only remnant of the walls they left behind.

This photo shows the corner where the sky bridge will meet up with the casino. Jagged pieces of roofing are still hanging out of the structure, waiting to fall on passers-by. On the far right you can see some of the steelwork that is going to make up the new part of the casino.

Here’s the finished product; a completely stripped second floor. The walls and roof are all gone, and a big gaping opening leads inside the structure to where the buffet used to be located. There is one section on the far left, above the burnt vent, that they left intact for reasons unknown.

After they finished the demoltion in the back, they started building a scaffolding. It rose from the second story floor, starting its slow march to the top of the tower.

Within a couple of days they had put scaffolding all the way to the roof, and they started spreading it laterally so it would eventually cover the entire west side of the hotel tower.

From up on the hill you can see the progress being made on the west side scaffolding, as well as the north side scaffold that had already been finished. By the end of October, the south face was the only part of the hotel that wasn’t encased in scaffolding.

While the back was being torn apart, the front entrance was being built. First was have this shot of the large cinder block wall facing Carson Street. They made a few cuts in it, preparing to carve out a huge opening.

The south side of the building is where most of the activity is, since that’s the direction the casino and second floor are expanding in. They brought in a crane to lift the steel beams into place that will make up the frame of the casino expansion.

Here you see the assembled steel starting to create a new addition in the back corner of the building.

Finally the sky bridge and the casino have been joined. Previously there was a twenty foot gap here; it looked like they had stopped the bridge before it was finished. But now we can see that they are bringing the building out to meet the bridge. The new section also meets up perfectly with the old section where the buffet was. It also lines up just right with the opening they cut in the second floor wall. All of this will become the grand entrance area for people coming from the parking garage.

On the south face they assembled steel for the rest of the expansion.

The casino is coming out to meet the new portecochere, which will house valet parking and the main entrance.

After this steelwork was finished, work was done for October. They may have canceled their demolition plans and gotten the concessions they wanted from the city, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to step up the pace very much. Days can go by with no work being done. I think it’s still going to be a couple of years before they manage to get this thing finished and open.

See you next month!

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