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Demolition fast tracked on North Jefferies building

by | January 31, 2019 5:00 am

Last Updated: January 29, 2019 at 3:55 pm

On the afternoon of Jan. 27, a large portion of the southern wall of the former Sweat Implement building at 720 N. Jefferies Blvd. came crashing down.
“I expect at least two-thirds of that building to be on the ground in the next couple of weeks,” says Walterboro Assistant City Manager Hank Amundson.
Amundson said the city had declared that building uninhabitable many months ago.
“Then there was a stay issued on the tickets issued because of an ownership debate,” Amundson said. Charlie Sweat holds the mortgage to the building and the local Habitat for Humanity was the owner.
Shortly after Habitat opened its resale shop in the northern one-third of the building, the city declared the building uninhabitable because of the condition of the remaining two-thirds. It had already been declared uninhabitable when the roof in that section of the building caved in.
Then about a month ago, when the wall began to bow in that section, and the city declared it an emergency situation. Amundson said the wall was bowing because one of the roof joists was leaning on the wall.
Then the process stalled again because there was asbestos in the roofing material, Amundson said. The possible presence of asbestos would require an inspection. The condition of the building, he added, slowed the asbestos inspection.
When the wall came down, Amundson said, “We declared the whole building an imminent danger.”
That designation translates into “as fast as you can go mode,” he said.
Even before the section of concrete block wall fell to the ground, Amundson said, “It was going to be coming down.” Amundson said the two sides in the debate had reached an agreement and were in the process of picking a contractor to handle the demolition.
The plan was to demolish the damaged two-thirds of the building with an attempt to save the one-third had housed the Habitat store. An engineer would have to certify that that portion is safe, Amundson added.

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