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HPC delays demolition for East Innes property

By Amanda Raymond
amanda.raymond@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The property at 201 E. Innes St. has been given a year before it is demolished.

The demolition case was brought before the Historic Preservation Commission at its meeting on Wednesday.

Commissioner Tom Wolpert was absent from the meeting.

The Historic Preservation Commission cannot deny demolitions. The commissioners can either vote to demolish the building with no delay or delay it for 365 days or less.

Pete Bogle, of The Bogle Firm, proposed to demolish the building and replace it with a new mixed-use building that would house Healthcare Management offices on the first floor and residential units on the upper floors. There could be one or two upper floors, each holding about five apartments.

Bogle said he planned to salvage the current building’s granite blocks for use in the new building.

Bogle also said he talked with the Healthcare Management representatives about moving their operations into the current building, but a number of problems made that difficult. For example, the total square footage was not enough to serve the offices’ needs and the building is not set back from the street far enough for the developers to do anything with the space.

“The potential value (of the new building), in our opinion, does far outweigh the value of just the granite block façade, which is the only historic element of significance remaining on the structure,” Bogle said.

Stan Jordan, the owner in the case, said he has been looking for a downtown location for five years. He said he thought the new building would encourage others to adaptively reuse nearby buildings.

During the public comment portion, Karen Hobson, executive director of the Historic Salisbury Foundation, spoke in favor of the full 365-day delay.

“… I think it’s a gateway building,” she said. “It is one of the few old buildings that you notice and that stands out as you come west on Innes Street from the interstate into downtown Salisbury…It’s part of what I think makes the architectural fabric of Salisbury so interesting.”

She also said the applicant talked with board members of the foundation about reusing the building and possibly incorporating the features of the current building into the new one or building around the existing building.

Ed Clement, founder of the foundation, opposed the demolition outright. He said the building itself, its location, its design and its materials are all significant.

“As far as the reuse of materials in a destroyed historic building, that is not historic preservation,” he said.

Surrounding property owners were in favor of the demolition.

Glen Taylor, an adjacent property owner, said other interested parties have wanted to demolish the building and others on the street along with it.

“… You’ve got to ask yourself, do you want economic growth or do you not?” he said.

Todd Littleton, another nearby property owner, also spoke in favor of the demolition.

Paula Bohland, executive director of Downtown Salisbury Inc., spoke about the organization’s experience with the property. She said they have worked with numerous companies, organizations and individuals who have expressed interest in developing the property, but none of them could follow through or submit a project that could serve as a gateway business into Salisbury.

She said Healthcare Management has been “working actively” with DSI to develop the property.

After the public hearing was closed, commissioner CJ Peters said he wanted to give the building a full year to explore other options.

“We should give it as much time as possible for the new owners to reconsider the direction that they are going in …” he said.

Commissioner Dan Degraaf asked if they could table the decision until plans for the new building were submitted. Catherine Garner, a planner with the city and staff liaison, said they could delay the decision for staff to gather more information about that possibility.

Commissioner Elizabeth Trick suggested that the developer come back to the commissioners with a precise plan about the documentation and salvaging of the granite blocks.

Chairman Andrew Walker said that was “outside the scope of the guidelines.”

Commissioner Jon Planosvsky stated the findings of fact and made a motion to demolish the building in 365 days, and both were approved unanimously.

In other business, the commission approved certificates of appropriateness for:

  • The repair and replacement of windows, screening of roll-out bins and site or parking lot improvements for a property at the 100 block of North Main Street.
  • A proposed front wall sign for a property at the 100 block of North Main Street.
  • The demolition of a property at 416-418 N. Fulton St. with no delay.
  • The replacement of the center railing on the Jackson and Fisher Street steps and installation of a cast iron fountain at the 300 block of West Fisher Street.

For work at a property at the 400 block of West Horah Street, the commission asked that the applicant return to the next meeting with more information for clarification.

The case concerning the removal of an oak tree in the front yard of a property at the 300 block of West Bank Street was moved to the next meeting.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.

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