Part of Spencer street closed because of dangerously unfit building
By Steve Huffman
SPENCER ó A portion of a block of Yadkin Avenue has been closed because town officials fear a building might collapse onto the roadway.
The stretch in question is in the 500 block of Yadkin Avenue, at its intersection with Fifth Street. The road is blocked and “Road closed” signs mark the street.
The building that’s causing the problems is at 129 Fifth St. It’s an old structure that’s used to house antiques.
The building has been discussed at several recent Board of Aldermen meetings, with members appropriating $56,000 in the current budget for the structure’s razing.
Dustin Wilson, Spencer’s land management director, said the street was closed this week at the suggestion of a structural engineer who questioned the building’s structural integrity.
The building is owned by Rowan County’s Genoal and Dylan Russell, though Genoal said she and her husband signed a contract about 10 years ago to sell the building to Larry Graves of Linwood.
Graves acknowledged recently that he’s responsible for the building’s upkeep and said he has plans to correct its structural woes.
He said he was in the process of having architectural plans for the building drawn that would convert it from a two-story to a one-story structure.
Aldermen have said if they have to have the building razed, they will seek to have the cost reimbursed by its owners. They are in the process of getting estimates for the work.
Town leaders said they don’t want the building razed, noting that it’s a central part of the town’s downtown Historic District. The building was constructed in 1907 and once served as the Connell Hotel and Lunch. The building housed the mayor’s office around 1910.
Larry Smith, Spencer’s town manager, said the building’s fate will be discussed at the August board meeting.