BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - It's been two months since a massive fire in Beaufort destroyed the county's Black Chamber of Commerce, and the agency is already looking to bounce back.
The destroyed building was the future home for the agency, as well as small business office spaces and a commercial-sized kitchen. We caught up with the president Friday afternoon, who said the plan was to rebuild all along, and that the fire wasn't going to stop the organization or its mission in the community.
The November fire completely destroyed the building, which totaled more than $2 million worth of damage. The building was going to be opened the following month and used as an office space for chamber members, but also as an incubator for business owners looking to branch off in the Beaufort area. There was a large investigation that looked into the cause of the fire, which was determined to be accidental and electric in nature. After the investigation was complete, the chamber was then able to outline the plan to start over. That will begin with demolition of the second and third floors as early as next month.
"Then after that, we will start the rebuild from that foundation and go up again to the third floor. Right now, we have some things that we will be doing differently in the interior, like we are giving more room for the kitchen and more room for the conference and training center," said Larry Holman, President, BCBCC.
Because the foundation of the old building is still sound, the chamber is hoping to have the demolition of the second and third floors done over the next few weeks.
The ultimate goal is to have the new building completed by the fall.