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Apr. 4 - Historic Savannah Foundation Taps Savannah Tech to Document Historic Building Before Demolition

Category: Historic Businesses "Then & Now"

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

April 4, 2016 - Historic Savannah Foundation, a leading preservation organization committed to preserving and protecting Savannah’s heritage, partnered with a historic preservation class from Savannah Technical College in a last minute effort to document an endangered historic structure at 1811 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in Savannah. The historic corner store at MLK and Kline Street will be torn down by the City on Monday, April 4, per a court order.

In an effort to document the building before it is lost forever, HSF reached out to Benjamin Curran, with the Historic Preservation Department at Savannah Tech. He engaged his Structural Theory and Pathology class beginning Friday, April 1 at 8 a.m., where the students photographed the building’s interior and exterior and took measurements from which detailed floor plans and elevation drawings will be produced.

The two-story, wood-frame building was constructed around the turn of the 20th century. It has been scrutinized by the City for nearly two years for repeated code violations. It was deemed unsafe and unfit for human habitation by city code enforcement, and has been vacant for some time. When repeated efforts to force the property owner to make necessary improvements and repairs failed, the City resorted to Recorder’s Court. 

The City’s Property Maintenance Division approached HSF about three weeks ago, when their efforts to document the building fell short. 

“We are always troubled when we lose a historic structure to demolition, but we are grateful that the City is allowing us this opportunity to document the building so there is some record of it,” said HSF Historic Properties Coordinator, Ryan Arvay. “We are concerned with what we see as a trend in demolition in Cuyler-Brownville and along MLK. This is especially painful since the building is just a block down from Meldrim Row, which was demolished last year.”

He added, “We feel there are better alternatives to demolition and we will continue to work with the City, property owners, and other organizations to find creative solutions that will reuse these buildings.”

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