Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 26, 2013

Inspectors balk at Bijou — Last chance on Monday


---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Contractors failed to obtain final permits after two days of inspections and furious fixes, but will have one last chance to gain clearance for Bijou by the Bay before Monday's scheduled grand opening of the Traverse City Film Festival's new movie house.

The Bijou's contractor and workers raced for eight weeks to convert the deteriorating Con Foster Museum building at Clinch Park into a small movie theater with modern accoutrements. Contractor Thom Darga said workers stayed on the job late into Thursday night to complete punch lists for a second round of inspections today.

They passed all but one inspection.

"I'm a little embarrassed, honestly," Darga said. "I was pretty cocksure we had it."

City officials said the Bijou by the Bay project failed its electrical, plumbing, and building inspections on Thursday. Darga took care of electrical and plumbing requirements, and passed mechanical, fire department, and health department inspections.

Darga said a building inspector's concerns had been remedied, but the Bijou crew may have gotten too far ahead of themselves. As inspectors signed off, workers moved in to hook up the sound system, projector and other equipment. Painters were working on a mural, and workers also arrived to install floor coverings prior to the final building inspection.

"If you were filming this with a time-lapse camera it would look like the Keystone Cops," Darga said Friday prior to the final inspection.

The activity didn't sit well with inspectors.

"They said we weren't ready for a final inspection," Darga said. "There is clearly a need to hold us very accountable to the letter of the law."

Darga said the inspector also left with four or five minor issues to be addressed, including more signage that Bijou staff couldn't post because painting was underway.

Additional work is scheduled throughout the weekend, Darga said. The movie screen is set to go up Saturday, floor coverings will be finished over the weekend, and the mural and other painting is expected to be completed and signage erected. Several of those items weren't required for a temporary occupancy permit, but will be completed and ready for Monday morning's reinspection.

"I will have this rascal Monday morning," Darga vowed.

Film Festival officials could not be reached for comment today.