Published: Aug 04, 2012 06:15 PM
Modified: Aug 02, 2012 03:09 PM
A Virginia Beach contractor obtained a building permit for the Liberty Warehouse roof repair last week, meeting a deadline on Greenfire Development’s schedule for the historic structure.
The contractor, Armada/Hoffler Construction, is also Greenfire’s partner in a proposed apartment building on Jackson Street.
“We are developing a long-term relationship with them and expect them to be involved in several future projects,” said Greenfire Managing Partner Paul Smith.
BridgePoint Construction Services, a Durham consulting firm, is project manager for the Liberty, according to Smith.
Greenfire still has an Oct. 31 deadline to complete repairs and avoid possible fines on the building, which the city declared to be in a state of “demolition by neglect” last February. Inspectors found extensive water damage in the building’s southern section after its roof collapsed in May 2011.
Several times recently, Smith has said Greenfire is sticking to a repair schedule the city approved last spring, but he is also close to announcing comprehensive plans for the building’s future use.
The building has been vacant since the roof collapse, but Duke University is leasing about 9,000 square feet for storage space in the intact northern section.
The Liberty is the last remaining tobacco-auction warehouse in Durham. Built in the late 1930s, it is a Local Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Since Durham’s downtown tobacco market closed in 1986, space in the Liberty was rented for storage and to several nonprofit organizations.
Greenfire continued that use after buying the warehouse in 2006, but never announced further intentions. During last winter’s demolition-by-neglect hearings, Smith said he was starting a “visioning process” with a number of Durham “stakeholders” to develop ideas for the building long-term.