DCRA Finds The Wonder Bread Factory in Shaw to be “Structurally Unsafe”

Last week I wrote about the DC Preservation League’s 40th Anniversary Party to be held April 21st at the Wonder Bread factory located at 641 S St, NW. Because the building has been vacant for so long I wondered how it could possibly be cleaned up in time for an April 21st party. Well unless I’m reading the DCPL’s invitation incorrectly, it seems like there is no way they are going to be able to have this party in the Wonder Bread Factory. I submitted a FOIA request to DCRA to see if I could learn a bit more about the property and found some very interesting (and quite frankly sad) information.

On March 14th Inspector James Parman wrote:

The building at the address above is structurally unsafe. The building has rotten flooring members on both the first and second floor levels. The roof structure has collapsed in some areas. At least one support beam for the roof support system has rotted and failed. The sub flooring throughout the building has heaved up to a height of approximately 12”. The building did not have any working lighting system at time of inspection. Due to theses items listed this structure is a dangerous site to be working in and this is the reason that the building was posted.

The owner of the building needs to due the following before the building can be deemed safe to work in. The owner needs to have an Engineer make a site visit to the site. The Engineer needs to write a report concerning the structural condition of the building. The report needs to address what correction need to be made to made to site safe to work in. The engineer needs to write a safely plan on how and where work can be done inside the building.
The report needs to be submitted to DCRA for review. No one is to remove the posted signs in till approval from the code official is given. This typed report reflects the items that where part of the written report that was given to the owners Rep. at the site. James F. Parman 3/14/2011

Through the FOIA request I was also able to get some photos taken at the inspection of the property:

I can’t say I’m totally surprised at the condition inside but (to me and my untrained eye) it seems like this project is quickly approaching the point of no return. Since we have lots of engineers and architects reading this blog – what is the point of no return here? Can the building be saved? Is there any chance that DCPL will be able to host a party here in a month?

More brutal photos of the inside after the jump.

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