Photo Credit: Tim Denson
A parking deck at the Hyatt Place hotel under construction on Thomas Street partially collapsed earlier tonight, and three construction workers suffered minor injuries.
The accident happened around 7:30 p.m., as people were leaving the Envision Athens town hall meeting at the Classic Center next door.
Classic Center Executive Director Paul Cramer said he was not sure exactly what happened. However, it appears that a section of the deck collapsed, or a crane may have dropped a piece of pre-cast concrete onto the deck. Part of the deck was damaged, and a piece of concrete lay shattered on the ground nearby.
Cramer described the workers' injuries as "bruises and bangs." Ambulances were on the scene, but one of them needed to be taken to the hospital, he said.
The Classic Center is not developing the 192-room hotel, but has been working closely with the developers, since it will be attached to the convention center.
R.W. Allen is the contractor building the hotel.
Athens-Clarke County announced that it has closed streets around the hotel and advised people to avoid the area.
Cramer also closed part of the Classic Center ballroom and the loading dock behind the hotel as a precaution, although that building was not damaged.
Cramer said he believes the damage to the deck can be easily repaired, and he does not expect the accident to delay construction. The hotel is scheduled to open in June.