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City gets court order to repair Thompson Hotel apartments

Shown is the Thompson Hotel in Worthington. (Karl Evers-Hillstrom/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — The city of Worthington has obtained a court order to make repairs to the Thompson Hotel apartments.

Judge Gordon Moore gave the city permission Monday in Fifth District Court to enter the apartment building and each of its 39 units.

“We now have the authority to carry out the repairs as quickly as a government entity can,” said Jason Brisson, Worthington community and economic development director.

The city can now address the root of many of the building’s problems — it’s badly leaking roof. City officials will have an independent third-party consultant look at the roof as early as next week and determine whether it can be repaired or if it needs to be replaced entirely. The city will then ask for bids in an attempt to get it fixed before cold weather hits in late fall.

After fixing the roof, the city will shift its focus to the building’s to pest and mold problems.

“In talking with a national contract cleaner, they couldn’t guarantee they would be able to produce a result that will comply completely with city code until the roof is repaired,” Brisson said.

By state statute, the cost of repairs will be assessed back to the property owners and can be paid off in five or fewer annual installments at an 8 percent annual interest rate.

Moore said the city is responsible for relocating Thompson Hotel residents if necessary. The cost of purchasing motel or hotel rooms for residents will be paid by the city, then assessed to the owners as part of the total cost of the repair operation.

The Thompson Hotel has a potential buyer in Lindsey Schenck, a Round Lake native and Worthington resident, but has not yet been sold. Until the city hears of a deal, it will continue to move forward with repairs as usual, Brisson said.

Though he acknowledged the repair expenses would be costly, Brisson said he felt the building could fall into total disrepair if it goes through another winter cycle.

“Even though it could be a challenge for the property owners to work through how to resolve expenses for repairs, I think at the end of the day we’re saving the building for them,” Brisson said. “The city has interest in keeping that historic building around, and with our rental housing shortage, the city has a vested interest in those 39 housing units.”