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Kress Building redevelopment includes removal of old cooling unit

By Mark Wineka

Salisbury Post

A monstrous cooling contraption that rattled for decades on the roof of Salisbury’s Kress Building came down for good Tuesday morning.

The cooling unit had long become a rusty eyesore, rising from behind a corner parapet of the building at South Main and West Bank streets.

Joel Goodman, who is redeveloping the 1910 building for commercial and residential uses, said the No. 1 question asked during his project was whether the unit was ever coming down.

“That is one thing that has really been talked about,” he said before the unit came down Tuesday. “Standing here, you can see why.”

Goodman hired the services of Parker Crane Service of Concord Tuesday to lift the 2,000- to 3,000-pound unit off the roof and gently deposit it on a waiting trailer. Burton Mechanical would dispose of the unit, Goodman said.

Workers secured the unit for lifting by wrapping bands around it, much like bows on a Christmas package.

The 1936 cooling unit had become a good nesting place for pigeons, Goodman said.

“Yeah, it looks like it’s gotten a haircut,” he said, looking at the spot where the unit had been perched for 70 years. “But that building looks better with that thing off.”

Old-timers say they often heard the unit’s chain rattling from far away, especially if it was overdue for lubrication.

Goodman often described the unit as a “chiller.” A more correct term, he said, may have been “a water-cooled, refrigeration condensing unit.” It relied on water running through it to provide a version of air-conditioning for the old five-and-dime store.

Goodman said five rooftop package units and five split units will provide heating and air-conditioning for his redeveloped building. Those units will be positioned out of street view, he promised.

Workers also took advantage of the crane’s appearance Tuesday to lift materials for a new roof, which K.W. Arthur & amp; Son will install.

Goodman has dubbed his redevelopment project as the Kress Plaza. It will include five residential condominiums on the second floor and commercial enterprises in the basement and on street level.

Much of the initial work has concentrated on the exterior. Goodman has stained all of the limestone architectural elements to return them to a natural and even color.

The brick exterior will be stained next. Goodman said many man-hours went into rebuilding the front corner of the building.

Goodman tracked down and bought the original K-R-E-S-S letters from 1910.

He has made digitized copies, and metallic-gold replica letters will be installed on the upper middle parapet in the near future.

Inside, Goodman has built a staircase in its original location. Interior walls have been demolished upstairs, and a lot of work has gone into repairing and preparing the hardwood floors for the condos.

Goodman said Piedmont Design Associates of Mooresville has provided engineering help for the project. He serves as his own general contractor.

The second-floor condominiums, especially, have drawn a lot of interest, according to Goodman.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263, or mwineka@salisburypost.com.

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