Wall falls off downtown Joliet parking deck

John Bays says he had a contractor lined up to rebuild the deck

Work crews on Friday cleaned up chunks of a concrete wall that fell onto a Scott Street sidewalk in downtown Joliet.

A section of barrier wall fell Thursday night from the second level of the parking deck for the Executive Centre at 120 N. Scott St., which includes a Chase bank, business offices and government offices.

No one was injured.

The building is owned by developer John Bays, who said he had a contractor lined up to renovate the parking deck, but now he needs to find out if the upper levels are worth saving.

“I’m going to have the structural engineers come out,” Bays said. “If they say I can rebuild it, I’ll rebuild it.”

Bays said he was still trying to determine what happened, but the collapse may have been caused by road salt erosion over a period of time.

“I think what happened is the salt from over the years got in there and rotted the steel rebar,” he said.

City building inspectors were at the site, but they could not be reached for comment.

The section that fell is about 40 feet long and four feet high. It is part of the sectional walls that do not enwrap the deck, but serve as a safety barrier for motorists driving inside of it.

Bays also owns the nearby Scott Street public parking deck, which he bought from the city last year and has been renovating since.

The Executive Centre deck also was under renovation. Drainage was replaced last year to address leaking in the deck, Bays said.

A contractor has been hired to rebuild the deck, he said, but “they have so much work they keep putting it off.”

That rebuilding project could be called off depending on the advice from structural engineers, Bays said. If the upper levels of the deck cannot be rebuilt, Bays plans to demolish them while keeping the first and lower levels.

The deck has four levels including one underground.

The damaged area is next to the Chase Bank, which continued to do business Friday. An outside Chase ATM on the back end of the parking deck was closed off for most of the day, but that area was opened up later in the afternoon, Bays said.

Bays estimated the parking deck to be 50 to 60 years old. It was built for what was then Joliet Federal Savings and Loan.

Bays is the biggest developer in the downtown area. He said he owns 10 buildings with a total of 1.4 million square feet.