Major property on Irby St. in Florence will soon get facelift

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Major changes are coming to the Country Hearth Inn Property on Irby Street. In October, a fire ripped through portions of the building, leaving charred remains and fallen debris behind.

"We bought it more for the hotel that is attached to the property as opposed to the restaurant. We plan to rebrand the property and do an entire renovation to it," said Laurie Lawrence, HD Hospitality.

Laurie Lawrence is the Bench Manager for HD Hospitality. HD Hospitality is the company that now owns the Country Hearth Inn and the building that once housed Horne's Buffet and Ashton's Upscale Social Club.

HD Hospitality purchased the property back in December.

"We are going to demolish the restaurant, and we are not going to re-build it," said Lawrence.

Within three weeks, the charred remains of Horne's Country Buffet and the former Ashton's Upscale Social Club will be gone.

In October of last year, WMBF was the only station to bring you live updates from the fire that ripped through parts of the facility. Fire Officials said the portion of the building that housed the restaurant and social club is a total loss.

"Nothing, nothing is left. You can't get into the building simply because of the dangers to the building," said Lawrence.

Broken glass and fallen debris still mark where flames ripped through the building, but HD Hospitality says new life will soon rise from this rubble.

"Well like I said, it will be a total brand change. We will be going away from Country Hearth Inn to another brand. That is something that we are still working on to make sure that we finalize the details of what brand. So I can't reveal that," said Lawrence.

Nearly every part of the building, which has been here for decades, will see some major updates.

HD Hospitality hopes that by renovating this property, more businesses will be attracted to the Florence area which will benefit us all.

"I'm in hopes that the renovation and name change will bring new business to our hotel which then we may have to bring on more people to handle the work load," said Lawrence.

Today investigators with the City of Florence said they still haven't figured out how that fire started.

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