Published: Jul 28, 2012 01:45 PM
Modified: Jul 28, 2012 01:51 PM
With a deadline to finish repairs to the Liberty Warehouse approaching, Greenfire Development has yet to begin construction or determine how much it will cost.
Nothing to report at this time, managing partner Paul Smith said last week. We are on schedule with the city timeline.
According to the timeline the company turned in to the city in February, Greenfire has until Tuesday, July 31, to obtain a building permit, and until the end of October to complete the job or face possible fines of $500 a day for demolition by neglect.
The window is very narrow, said Planning Director Steve Medlin, whose department is responsible for enforcing the ordinances regarding maintenance of historic structures.
One element overdue, said Planning Supervisor Sara Young, who is monitoring progress, is a budget in part because the Libertys roof has collapsed further this summer, adding to the fixup job.
Otherwise, she and Medlin said, Greenfire has met its deadlines for submitting engineering and architectural plans.
After getting its building permit, Greenfire has until the end of August to install new roofing and roof drains and to remove damaged and moldy drywall. Subsequently, the company has agreed to close the hole in the roof with a new support structure.Last house standing
The Liberty Warehouse, covering 2.6 acres and enclosing 200,000 square feet, is the last of the auction houses still standing from the tobacco market that operated in Durham from 1871 through 1987. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and as a local historic landmark.
Durham law requires owners of historic landmarks to maintain their properties. The owner of a property found to be in a state of demolition by neglect may be required to make repairs and pay civil penalties.
A section of Liberty Warehouses roof collapsed during a rainstorm in May 2011, forcing the nonprofit groups that rented space there to move. After postponing demolition-by-neglect proceedings until February of this year, city inspectors found the buildings southern half in a condition of neglect and ... further deteriorating.
The repairs Greenfire has committed to will stabilize the building, but leave its future to be determined. Vacant since the roof collapse, the warehouse would require major remodeling to be used as anything other than a warehouse.
Greenfire has never announced plans for it since buying the Liberty in 2006, but Smith said last winter he intended to solicit ideas for what to do with it longer term.
In a couple of weeks, I should have a good update on the future, he said.