Historic Savannah building to be demolished - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Historic Savannah building to be demolished

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

An historic building in downtown Savannah will be demolished.

Developer Ben Carter bought the law office building next to McDonald's on Broughton Street with the hopes of tearing it down, however, the Historic Review board denied that request.

But on Thursday, the Zoning Board of Appeals reversed that decision.

When Ben Carter bought the property, it was not considered historic because it was not listed on the Savannah's Historic Building Map.

When Ben Carter Enterprises submitted their plans to the Historic Review Board in May, they changed the building's classification to historical. On Thursday, the Zoning Board of Appeals voted against that decision after much debate.

The attorney's for Ben Carter Enterprises argued the reason the building needed to be torn down was because the façade's historical features are ruined because it had been altered so much over the years, they said if they attempted to restore the building, they would still need to demolish some parts that were beyond repair.

"Moving forward, we have the right to demolish the building, however, we still go back to the Historical Review Board, whatever we put up in that space still requires the absolute approval of the Historical Review Board," said attorney Harold Yellin.

The historic building will be torn down and rebuilt as a four-story retail and residential building. The law office will be replaced to look like the old Chatham Furniture building which stood on the site before it burned years ago.

Ben Carter Enterprises has acquired 27 properties along Broughton Street and this property is the only one that needs to be rebuilt. All of the others are being renovated and restored.

Even though the Zoning Board of Appeals reversed the Historic Review Board's decision, some folks still believe the building should be saved.

"What makes Savannah special is its historic buildings," said Ryan Arvay. "It's a huge driver in the economy, so when I see efforts to weaken that, it concerns me."

They aren't pulling up the bulldozers yet because the law office is still operating until September.

Copyright 2014 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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