LAURINBURG — Only one full wall remains of the former M.A. McDougald/Market Furniture building in downtown, but not for long.
Integrated Consulting and Management of Greensboro, who now owns the building have brought in contractors to work on the last remaining wall of the building, according to City Manager Charles Nichols.
Nichols said it took bringing in several contractors before one was comfortable enough to take on the project of removing the last wall, which was threatening a possible collapse onto the Quality Parts and Equipment building behind it.
The building was deemed unsafe by the city and Nichols said that the contractors hope to have the wall down within the next week as it has to be done carefully and the company will clean up the area as well.
It was back in 2016 that ICM purchased the building, as well as the old State Bank building, and in May 2017 the company removed the caved in roof and inside structure of the Market Furniture building leaving just the four walls.
Back in March the Exchange talked to Marshall Melton, ICM managing partner, about the projects. Melton said that the State Bank building was going to be turned into a boutique hotel then the company would focus on the Market Furniture building.
On Sept. 14 during Hurricane Florence, the 115-year-old building collapsed, leaving the back wall as the only remaining wall. The other walls fell on the street and one fell into the Karen Gibson School of Dance. Melton was unable to be contacted for a comment.
The dance school has suffered substantial damage, which can be seen just by driving by as the inside of the building can be seen from where the rubble took out the ceiling and windows.
Owner and instructor Karen Jenkins said that there’s about $25,000 worth of items in the studio that have been damaged or destroyed ranging from costumes to pictures.
“We’re in limbo as far as the building is concerned,” Jenkins said. “I haven’t even been allowed inside to get anything that hasn’t been damaged and I’m not sure when I’ll be able to.”
The reasoning for not being allowed in is the single wall still standing that is considered to be a danger.
However, despite everything, the dance school will be opening back up on Oct. 6 in a new location across from the former location.
Jenkins said that while she didn’t have the address for the school at the moment she was working on putting walls up in the new location.
“It’s one big room so we have to put walls up for two dance studios and a waiting room,” Jenkins said. “We also have to put in flooring so we don’t ruin the other floors.”
While Jenkins continues her business at a new location it’s unclear what will happen to the lot where the historic building once stood.
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171 or at [email protected]