Back to Dallas Farmers Market Shed No. 2 for just a moment.
While doing some follow-up phone-calling this morning after posting the item about Pecan Lodge Catering, I found out that the city-owned building, which cost $3.2 million to redo before its quiet reopening at the end of 2008, never had its required electrical inspection. Which means it does not have a certificate of occupancy.
This only came to light, if you will, a few days ago, as they were building out the Old World Sausage Co. counter. As Farmers Market administrator Janel Leatherman put it when contacted by Unfair Park about the issue, she acknowledged, yes, "there was a snag" during construction. Which sent Farmers Market officials scurrying to find the electrical inspection records -- only to discover there wasn't a final inspection done on the electrical. And why not? I will let Bob Durham, the senior architect in Public Works and Transportation, explain, as he did via e-mail when I shot him a note earlier today:
The contractor, Phillips May Inc. completed the work in March 2008. When the final closeout documents were received by Public Works and Transportation the question was asked: Where is the certificate of occupancy? Phillips May indicated it was not a requirement for renovation projects.
Cary Pritchard, Manager-SE Building Inspection District, indicated that Phillips May never obtained a final electrical inspection. Public Works has instructed Phillips May to obtain the final electrical inspection for the work. The reason this is coming to light at this date is it has been in the last month that new vendors are applying for separate tenant permits to make improvements for their spaces.
Public Works does not feel there are any major issues with the Shed 2 electrical systems. The building inspector has made several inspections throughout the project with minor comments only. This issue should be resolved this week.
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I called Durham back for further clarification. My first question was: How does the city not get a CO for a city-owned building? (One theory we had around the office: Perhaps city officials just don't like dealing with the city's own red tape.)
"Phillips May was led to believe -- and maybe it was wishful thinking -- it doesn't have to have a CO," he said. Most likely it was wishful thinking: The rules for who needs a certificate of occupancy are pretty clear.
"But this is not a reflection on Phillips May and their work," Durham said. "I don't think the inspector is finding anything and going, 'Wow.'. ... But when I called Cary about this, and he told me he wasn't sure whether the building needed a CO, I told him, 'Cary we're embarrassed about this.' It's not something we're real happy about, but it happened, and we'll deal with it."