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Developer promises to repair condemned Durham warehouse

Posted June 15, 2011

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— The owner of a landmark warehouse near downtown Durham that was condemned last month after part of its roof collapsed has agreed to correct the problem, city officials said Wednesday.

Heavy rains on May 14 caused part of the 2.4-acre roof on the Liberty Warehouse, on Riggsbee Avenue, to cave in. City inspectors condemned the building two days later, forcing tenants to scramble to find new space.

Owner Durham Liberty LLC has told city officials that it plans to fix the roof and related problems within a reasonable timeframe, officials said.

The Durham City/County Planning Department had set a public hearing for Thursday evening and was moving ahead with plans for a "demolition by neglect" investigation of the property. The hearing is now canceled and the investigation suspended to give the owner time to make repairs, officials said.

Liberty Warehouse dates to 1938 and once served as a tobacco auction house. In recent years, the historic landmark has been used as studio, warehouse and retail space for numerous businesses and nonprofit groups.

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  • no contest Jun 15, 2011

    It is too bad this is happening. The people behind Durham Liberty LLC and Greenfire have their heart and soul in Durham. They are not here today and gone tomorrow developers. The economy has taken its toll on everyone including good developers like Durham Liberty LLC and Greenfire.

  • technetium9 Jun 15, 2011

    MR. Bonfield tear this building down.
    How come "historic landmark" often equates to a run down building in desperate need of a bulldozer. If land was in short supply then it would be worth fixing. city of durham has no shortage of land.

  • Rolling Along Jun 15, 2011

    How long has the company that currently owns the property had it? Was the previous owner aware of the condition of the building? Has a structural engineer looked at it and determined it's actual structural stability? Does the current owner have the financial ability to pay for proper repairs? And why did they wait until there was structural failure to do something about it? Roofs seldom collapse with no warning. The building has probably not been maintained properly for years, and the owners have continuously deferred repairs, now it is time to pay the piper. Buildings cost money to maintain properly, big buildings cost more. Ante up or bulldoze.

  • irishale Jun 15, 2011

    I find it interesting that only one month after condemning the property, they're going for a demolition by neglect hearing... seems a little quick, especially seeing some of the structures Durham has allowed to stand for years.

  • djcgriffin Jun 15, 2011

    "within a reasonable time frame" is not sufficient. I wish the company would do some research to have something to report