TRAVERSE CITY — Everyone asks the same question of architect John Dancer: When can the Red Ginger restaurant reopen?
The answer likely will hinge on a structural engineering analysis of the entire building by JDH Engineering, Inc., of Grand Rapids. The brick column that crumpled May 30 has been replaced by a steel column that is structurally sound and can support the weight above it, Dancer said.
But JDH Engineering is looking at the rest of the building. Its report likely won't be completed for another two weeks.
"Once they get through everything structurally we will know that the entire building is structurally sound and that is what we are trying to determine," Dancer said. "We want to make sure there isn't anything else that might potentially fail down the road."
A column in the dining room of the ground-floor restaurant on Front Street collapsed May 30 during the busy Friday evening dinner rush. Staff evacuated the restaurant and banquet rooms on the second floor without injury. Red Ginger’s second floor sagged about eight inches before construction crews and firefighters were able to temporarily shore up the building.
The third floor and roof also sagged and the city fire marshal ordered evacuations of the adjoining State Theatre and Horizon Books that night because the structures share common walls.
The two adjoining businesses were allowed to reopen a week later after Red Ginger's sagging floors were jacked back into place and structural engineers assured the adjoining buildings' safety.
These days crews are replacing and repairing drywall and other cosmetic damage while staff clean the restaurant.
"Drywall, paint, carpet. We are still some time out," Red Ginger owner Pam Marsh said.
A cause for the collapse still has not been determined, Dancer said.
"There will be a written report from JDH at some point, but I don't know if it will ever definitively identify a cause," Dancer said.