Torrance OKs Quake Funds

Owners of pre-1933 buildings in Old Downtown will be provided with up to 50 cents per square foot to determine if their structures could survive a strong earthquake.

The city Redevelopment Agency unanimously appropriated $130,000 to pay for seismic studies for 33 buildings, or 260,000 square feet, that have been identified by the Building and Safety Department as potentially unsafe in a strong quake.

The city made the money available after many property owners complained that it could cost them thousands of dollars to find out whether they would have to comply with a proposed ordinance requiring many old masonry buildings to be reinforced with steel beams and anchors to meet current earthquake safety standards.

Building and Safety Director Ralph Grippo, who proposed the ordinance, said repairs could cost between $5 and $12 a square foot.

The City Council in January postponed a decision on the ordinance, saying further study was needed.

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