Falling bricks damage disrupts business, traffic

Posted at 6:44 PM, Mar 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-08 18:44:09-05

It's a waiting game in downtown West Palm Beach as crews repair the Alexander Lofts building on the corner of Fern Street and Dixie Highway.

Since hundreds of bricks came tumbling down from the side of the building Thursday, residents have not been allowed back in to their apartments and detours are in place. On Monday, more cracks were found in the building's outer layer of brick. The entire block of Fern Street from Dixie Highway to Olive Avenue is blocked off.

Crews have put scaffolding up around the building to protect cars and pedestrians from any more falling bricks once the street is opened back up.

Residents have been told the earliest they may be able to get back into their apartments at Alexander Lofts would be Wednesday.

A spokesman for Ram Realty, the company that runs the apartment building, says he'll have a better idea by Tuesday evening or Friday morning of whether renters will be able to get back in that soon.

Once engineers hired by Ram Realty give the okay for residents to come back, the city of West Palm Beach's engineering department must perform an inspection and give the okay as well.

Nearby businesses say all of the commotion and the road closure has affected business.

"Our foot traffic has slowed down a little bit with the road closure," says Laura Olsson, an employee at Johan's Jöe, a new Swedish Coffeehouse across the street from the apartment building. "We have had a couple of phone calls with people asking if we were still open. It's just a little bit harder to get here with the roads."

Olsson adds the coffeshop is still open.