Boardwalk Arcade Demo Began Tuesday

Boardwalk Arcade Demo Began Tuesday Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 20 May 2015 04:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - A bit of Carolina Beach Boardwalk history was taken down Tuesday May 19th, when crews began demolition on the old Boardwalk Arcade building that was damaged by fire in September of last year.
The Town began a condemnation process in April to encourage the owners to take action to clean up the site and address safety concerns.

Town Manager Michael Cramer explained, "The town and property owners have spent several months working through the regulatory hurdles associated with building in the Boardwalk District.  The town worked with CAMA (Division of Coastal Management), DOI (NC Department of Insurance), and the County to first determine if the building was classified as one building with several units or several building. The regulatory agencies determined the following: 1. There are two parcels involved with the project and both are owned by one organization, 2. Over several centuries the main building was added onto and closed in several times, 3. The buildings have also been split into several separate leased units.
Due to this information the building was considered one large building by the regulatory agencies.  This was important because it helps determine how the property can be improved."

Cramer explained, "The property owners hired a building consultant to determine with a structural engineer, what percentage of the building was damaged by the fire.  It was determined that the building sustained less than 50% damage due to the fire and thus it could be renovated rather that razed and rebuilt.  Since that time the owners have submitted plans and received several permits.  The town issued a demolition permit to allow the owners to remove a section of the western facing wall of the arcade and remove all damaged material from the facility.  The town also issued a permit to the owners to repair the damage to the old Frank’s Pizza unit and to clean and refurbish the T-Shirt unit.  We anticipate that the T- shirt unit will be available to occupy this weekend and that a CO may be available for the Old Frank’s Pizza unit in the next several weeks.  The demo has begun on the arcade unit and the town is anticipating detailed plans and structural engineering reports before we issue a building permit for that unit.  The eastern side unit will only need cleaning, since the only damage was from smoke and water damage.  The plans and drawing suggest that the arcade unit will contain a smaller arcade and a retail shop and the eastern unit will contain four rental units.  Progress is being made and we hope to continue to see progress over the next several months."

During a meeting of the Town Council in April, Mayor Wilcox said he was working with the property owners. Wilcox owns Blue Water Structures, building and remodeling homes and commercial projects in the area. Wilcox said the owners intent was to start construction before that time but between all of the forensic engineering, structural engineering, asbestos testing, everything that has been required it had taken a lot longer. 
Wilcox said they were waiting to meet with their lender and in order to meet with their lender they needed a construction contract, engineering, all the specs and everything that goes with that which they just recently finished. He said he had encouraged and urged them to move forward with the demolition while the rest of it is approved and that had not happened at the time of the Council meeting. 
He said the owners were trying to bundle the demolition and reconstruction into one financing package and said the owners had spent considerable money to date just to get to the engineering and design, architectural consulting and jump through all the regulatory hoops which had been massive.  He said they are very serious about rebuilding it.

The fire also destroyed Frank's Pizza which has now relocated across from their former location.

Photo: Willard H. Killough III : Arcade fire in September 2014 on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk.

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