Quincy cites Newcomb Hotel for unsafe conditions

A three-story section on the east side of the 125-year-old Newcomb Hotel collapsed following severe thunderstorms on April 18. (H-W Photo/Steve Bohnstedt)
Posted: May. 8, 2013 2:56 pm Updated: May. 22, 2013 3:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

The city of Quincy has issued a citation to an agent of Newbomb Realty LLC, the limited liability company that owns the Newcomb Hotel, 400 Maine, for maintaining an unsafe building. Part of a three-story section of the building collapsed last month following storms.

Michael Seaver, director of inspection and enforcement for the city's Department of Planning and Development, issued the ticket to Elisha Prero, an agent of Newcomb Realty, on April 26, according to the Quincy Police Department.

Prero's first appearance in Adams County Court is set for May 21.

The city has been in a protracted dispute with the Victor Horowitz over a $500,000 loan he received from Quincy's Revolving Loan Committee in 2003 to buy the Newcomb.

Chuck Bevelheimer, director of planning and development, said the city met last week with a contractor Horowitz hired.

"My assessment of the situation is that Mr. Horowitz sent his contractor to look at it, but he really did not give us any direction what their plans are for the property."

Fencing continues to surround the southeast side of the former hotel. The fencing blocks off the alley between Fourth and Fifth streets immediately south of the building.

Bevelheimer said the court could issue fines of up to $500 a day until the structure is deemed safe.

"We will probably also be asking for some court direction on the building -- how to address the problem," he said. "We will be seeking some sort of relief from the judge."

The 77,500-square-foot, 120-room hotel, which opened March 6, 1888, has sat vacant for more than 30 years as a number of developers have tried and failed to complete plans to renovate the building.

After threatening Horowitz with foreclosure, the city's Revolving Loan Committee on Jan. 31 recommended that the city instead accept the deed to the building. However, the city hit another snag in February when it discovered during a title search that a $116,000 lien had been placed on the property by HG Contracting of Skokie for work it said it had not been paid for. Records show that the lien was filed in the Adams County Recorder's Office on April 30.