Twenty-three buildings in Redondo Beach--from the city library to a room in the local Elks' lodge--are built of unreinforced masonry and could collapse in a major earthquake, city building officials report.
Reinforcing the buildings could cost the owners up to $25 per square foot, and none of the Redondo Beach structures is eligible for existing state subsidies, Chief Building Officer Nagy Jacob reported in a memo to the City Council.
The report, mandated as part of a statewide hazard mitigation program passed by the Legislature in 1986, came with a proposed ordinance submitted to the council by city staff this week to minimize potential earthquake damage.
The proposal is based on a Los Angeles ordinance and applies only to buildings built before 1934 of unreinforced masonry or a combination of unreinforced masonry and wood, Jacob said.
By state law, each city must have a list by year's end of all such buildings within its jurisdiction and must notify owners that their buildings could be vulnerable in the event of a major quake.
Cities may also require that buildings be upgraded, Jacob said, or that occupancy be reduced if the building is to remain in operation. But such work is expensive. For example, just working up an assessment of what it would take to bring the city's 59-year-old public library at Veterans Park up to code will cost $20,000, Jacobs said. In some cities, owners have preferred to demolish rather than spend thousands of dollars on seismic upgrades.
Under the proposed Redondo Beach ordinance, property owners would have 60 days to appeal a city finding that a building needs seismic work. After that, the owner would get 180 days to prove the building is safe, to demolish it or to submit plans for bringing it up to code. Any upgrades would have to be completed within three years. The City Council is scheduled to consider the ordinance Dec. 19. Among the 23 buildings is the Benevolent Order of Elks Lodge No. 1378 at 315 Esplanade. Its meeting room was built 100 years ago as a cable car depot.
With its high ceilings and two-foot-thick brick walls, the big room has never been made quake-proof. Seismic work on the walls of the room would necessitate upgrading the entire building, which the fraternal group cannot afford, said Past Exalted Ruler Don Smith.
The group has posted a sign over the doorway to the lodge room, warning that it isn't quake-proof, but the Elks haven't stopped having their dances and regular meetings there, Smith said.
"We aren't really worried about it," he said. "After all, the thing was there when the big quake hit in '33, and it got through it without even a crack."
VULNERABLE BUILDINGS IN A MAJOR QUAKE Redondo Beach buildings built before 1934 of unreinforced masonry or a combination of unreinforced masonry and wood:
* Redondo Beach Public Library, Veterans Park.
* Meeting room of Elks Lodge, at 315 Esplanade.
* The South Bay Masonic Lodge Hall, at 501 S. Catalina Ave.
* The Loyal Order of Moose Lodge, at 516 N. Pacific Coast Highway.
* The Catalina Building, at 118 S. Catalina Ave.
* A Redondo Van & Storage warehouse, at 207 N. Broadway, and the company's office-and-apartment building, at 327 Diamond St.
* Toes Tavern, at 732 N. Catalina Ave.
* The abandoned Weddle Woodcraft site, at 811 N. Catalina Ave.
* A South Bay Union High School District storage building, at 1107 Vincent St.
* South Catalina Avenue commercial retail and office buildings at 112-4, 116, 118, 306, 308-10 and 312 S. Catalina Ave.
* A two-story commercial building owned by Pacific Shoreline Investment, at 112 N. Catalina Ave.
* An auto parts dealership, at 321 N. Pacific Coast Highway.
* An office building, at 350 N. Pacific Coast Highway.
* A warehouse, at 604 N. Francisca Ave.
* A railroad building, at 532 N. Francisca Ave.
* A commercial building housing several graphics businesses, at 601 Garnet St.
* A two-story house, at 932 S. Juanita Ave.