City to put in money to fix city lot by B&J

Published 11:04 am Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Austin City Council decided to take a problem by the horns and spend the money to take care of it right away.

At a council work session Monday night, the council voted unanimously to spend close to $60,000 to fix the public parking lot behind the B&J Bar and Grill.

The issue largely involves gradual settling of the city-owned parking lot, which Public Works Director Steven Lang said the city acquired in 2000. The parking lot was constructed to serve the downtown merchants.

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A portion of the lot directly next to the B&J, formerly The Silver Bullet, was formerly the Ferris TV building, which burned and was demolished in 1991. When the building was demolished, much of it was crushed into the basement. Since then, the parking lot has been built over the top.

The parking lot is now settling as the demolition materials continue to break down.



Before the B&J patio was put in, the parking lot was only an asphalt surface. Over the years, as settlement occurred, city crews would overlay the settled area with asphalt to level up the parking lot, but now with the patio and parking lot curb and gutter, addressing the settlement is getting more difficult, Lang said.

Currently, portions of the parking lot settle at six to eight inches, which causes standing water and could ice up in the winter to create slip and trip hazards, Lang said.

“We’re looking at a couple different options to address the settlement issue,” Lang said.

The City Council faced two options Monday: 1. Spend $75,000 to $80,000 now for a permanent solution to the problem, or 2. Spend $15,000 and have the problem fixed temporarily for five to 10 years.

“But the caveat there is it’s likely to settle again,” Lang said. “At a minimum, we could estimate it in another 10 years [we] would likely be looking at it.”

The council eventually opted for the permanent fix. It will include removal of the patio and hard surfacing within the footprint of the old Ferris TV building, removal of the demolition material and replacement with clean backfill before the patio and parking lot are replaces. Lang said this should solve the problem and they shouldn’t have to revisit it again.

This will cost about $75,000 to $80,000. The city would pay about $60,000 and B&J owner Scott Fox would pay about $20,000. The money for the city’s portion would be allotted in the 2017 budget.

Fox said he would rather spend the $20,000 now and fix it right. Previous owners have tried to fix the problem, he added.

“I would rather spend the 20 [$20,000] now and fix it right,” Fox said.

Fox said he talked to the B&J’s former owners, who fixed the patio about two years after it laid the patio and a portion of it in 2012. The Foxes have also done some repairs as owners.

He said they check it every week because it gives way and it’s something that’s going to continue to happen.

Lang said the settling is slowing down. In 2007, there was probably 18 inches of settlement and now there’s about six to eight inches, but yet there’s still areas that are breaking down.

Construction would be done either in spring or fall and not during the summer when the patio is utilized a lot, Lang said.