Friday, April 4, 2014
Plans for the new Front Street buildings in the 700 block to replace those lost in the Sept. 25 fire are now going forward.
Three area architecture firms made presentations to a committee made up of city, county and regional officials, as well as representatives for the seven property owners.
That committee will meet Monday to recommend one of the firms for the project.
Then, City Council will make the final decision.
The three firms are SGA Architecture, Tych & Walker Architects, LLC, and LS3P.
The committee includes Georgetown mayor Jack Scoville, Georgetown City administrator Chris Carter, Bonnie Infinger, purchasing agent for the city, Georgetown County economic development director Brian Tucker, Dan Newquist from Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments, Dwayne Christian, one of the property owners, and Vida Miller, committee coordinator and liaison for the property owners.
Miller said Thursday that the first priority for the chosen firm will be to meet with the property owners and stockholders.
“All three of the firms were outstanding and each presentation brought a different perspective,” Miller said.
“Each had a common thread: Nothing can be done without the stakeholders, including the property owners, the community, the city, the county and regulatory agencies all working together.”
“All three indicated that the first thing to do will be to sit down with the property owners to get input on where they want to go,” Scoville said.
“All of them will be given equal consideration. I’d be comfortable with any one of them working on the project.”
He said some of the challenges for this project include, infrastructure issues, water and sewer, electricity, and the regulatory component through building codes, such as flood preparation, either elevating the buildings or making them flood proof.
Miller said she has been impressed with the cooperation between the city and county to help the property owners of the lost buildings reach this point.
“The city and county have invested a lot in inkind services and manpower,” Miller said.
“Georgetown County has worked with each of these property owners to provide dumpsters and trucks for debris removal. They discounted tipping fees and provided trucks for the cleanup effort.
The National Guard started the process, but the city and county continued the process.”
She added that the city also paid for asbestos removal, Harborwalk cleanup and removal of building facades immediately after the fire at no cost to property owners.
“While they were doing this, they were also taking care of residents throughout the city and county,” Miller said.