Local News

Residents may have to wait another year to return to building damaged by Raleigh fire

Posted January 11, 2018 5:37 p.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 9:56 a.m. EDT

— It’s been nearly 10 months since the historic downtown Raleigh fire damaged the Quorum Center, but the community manager said it could be at least another year before residents can return to the building.

The Metropolitan, an apartment building that was under construction, caught fire on March 16 and the blaze became the largest fire in Raleigh since the 1920s.

The five-alarm fire caused $50 million worth of damage to other nearby buildings, including the Quorum Center, where the exterior was scorched and windows were blown out.

The building’s community manager, John McInerney, said the first step to repairing the building was to dry it out following heavy water damage. Next came air quality tests and several other tests to ensure the building was safe, he said.

“So, they’ve done extensive testing on it. It’s been determined that the building was structurally sound, but all of the brick on the front of the building and the windows on the front of the building will need to be replaced,” McInerney said.

McInerney said crews are in the process of removing bricks now and scaffolding removal was supposed to begin this month, but was pushed back because of weather.

“We don’t necessarily have to have 100 percent, meaning the street trees replaced, but we certainly will have to have all the life safety,” he said.

For condo owners, McInerney said there have been monthly meetings to keep them in the loop about progress.

“Once a month, we are having a general meeting where everybody is invited. There is no time limit. We stay until every single question gets answered,” he said.

While the project is moving forward, the road ahead is still long.

“I’d say things are moving along positive, but it is a long, involved process so what we’re doing is making sure everything is moving along properly,” McInerney said. “I would think that, at a minimum, it would be another 12 months before they could move in.”

Authorities in June said they were unable to determine the cause of the historic fire.

Permits were filed in November to allow the Metropolitan apartments to begin rebuilding.