Demolition of Florence building gets 60 day hold

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - All the members of the Florence County Historical Commission said the old trust building is a historical marker and able to be repaired. But city leaders say the site is an eyesore and is too expensive to fix to be a part of the current downtown development.

"We voted unanimously to find historical significance in the 1917 built 200 block of West Evans Street - the Florence trust building," said Marshall Yarborough, Chairman of the Florence County Historical Commission.

The trust building on West Evans Street sits on the site where city leaders want to build the new downtown medical school.

"It is significant to Florence. It's located directly across from the old post office. When you turn into Florence Downtown that is the piece you see sweeping the sky," said Yarborough.

City leaders say the space is the perfect place to build the new medical school because it offers room to grow and will be a continuation to the revitalization happening just blocks away.

"You know we are very committed to downtown. We are committed to historical development and we have had some success developing other building downtown," said Mayor Stephen Wukela, City of Florence.

Although Mayor Wukela said the city would like the old trust building to be a part of the new med. school, the condition of the building makes it impossible.

"This one is just one that is gone too far. And the practical impact is the cost of rehabilitating the building is so significant that no developer can hope to regain their investment," said Wukela.

Beyond the roof being caved in, water damage is a problem throughout the building. Mayor Wukela said it would cost more than ten million dollars to rehabilitate the building,

The historical commission thinks the building can be repaired for less than that. The commission is currently looking for contractors to evaluate the building.

Right now, the city has to wait 60 days before demolition can begin on the trust building.

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