Plant B boarded up

Owner has 30 days remaining in abatement order
Mar. 21, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

Thomasvile City Council received a positive update on the status of the former Thomasville Furniture Industries Plant B building at its monthly meeting Monday night.

City Manager Kelly Craver told the Council that representatives from Fisher Ferry LLC, the company that owns the dilapidated structure, have taken steps to secure the plant in recent weeks.  After the city sent a letter to Fisher Ferry LLC, broken windows and doors were boarded up to keep people out of the 100-year-old eyesore. Last year, vagrants entered the building and started a fire.

“They’ve done a pretty good job of trying to secure the building,” Craver said. “I am pleased that they have taken measures to secure the building. The fence is still in decent repair and they have made the building much more difficult to get in for vagrants who may potentially start a fire.”

While many of the ground level windows and doorways are boarded up, as well as fire escapes, Craver said an opening at what appears to be a sawdust pit remains accessible in addition to a couple of windows that he called fairly low. He was assured by Fisher Ferry LLC representatives that would be addressed.

“If you go out there you cans see that they’ve boarded up almost all the low windows and doorway entrances,” said Craver. “We sent them a list and they went out three-plus weeks later and did a substantial amount of boarding up.”

Frank Edmondson, a Fisher Ferry LLC representative who spoke to Council during January’s meeting on behalf of owner Jeff Schwarz, said the company is trying to work with the city and securing the site was a pivotal first step.

“I think with us securing it, that was the main issue with the city,” Edmondson said. “They want to just try and keep everything safe. [The building] has been secured.”

During that January meeting, Council told Edmondson that Fisher Ferry LLC had 90 days to abate the nuisance caused by the rundown building or it would start the process and begin placing liens against the property. Edmondson responded by saying the company would file for bankruptcy, leaving the city still facing an estimated $400,000 bill for tearing it down.

On Wednesday, Edmondson told the Times that Fisher Ferry LLC is trying to sell the property to a demolition company which may be interested in salvaging the plant. With the 90-day deadline looming next month, Edmondson still could not provide a definite timeframe.

“We’re in discussion with a couple of different parties that are looking at the body,” said Edmondson. “We’re trying everything we can. We want it done as soon as possible.”

Craver said he had no information regarding any negotiations involving Fisher Ferry LLC but he is aware that several demolition salvage firms have looked at the site.

Councilman Neal Grimes said the safety of Chair City citizens and keeping the property inaccessible to the public has been Council’s primary concern.

“That’s our main goal until we get a final disposition on the building,” Grimes said. “We want it to where people can’t wander in there and get hurt. We’re still waiting on them to make the moves for demolition. They’re still saying they’re going to do that so we’re asking them to proceed.

“In the meantime, we want to see the place secure. They have been doing some of those things we asked of them. That’s pretty much all we’ve asked along the way is some progress toward securing the facility.”

 

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or duke@tvilletimes.com.