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Downtown property to be rebuilt

Plans are to demolish the existing building at 401 North Fillmore Street, which sits at the corner of Fillmore and Cruise Streets. The corner property has previously been home to the offices of Penn Majors and Bonnard Eaton.

Staff photo by Zack Steen

By Jebb Johnston

jjohnston@dailycorinthian.com

A plan to remodel a prominent downtown building has shifted to a total rebuild.

The Corinth Historic Preservation Commission on Wednesday gave approval to owner Tim Smith's request to demolish the existing building at 401 North Fillmore Street, which sits at the corner of Fillmore and Cruise Streets. The corner property has previously been home to the offices of Penn Majors and Bonnard Eaton. Smith plans to rebuild with the same exterior design as previously submitted to the commission, which involved a proposal to restore the brick under the stucco exterior.

The commission is requiring the final revised plans be presented before the new construction moves forward.

Commission Chair Bob Moore said questions had lingered regarding the building's stability and whether the renovation would be feasible from a financial and safety standpoint. The change of plans comes out of necessity as evaluations of the building determined there is no guarantee that it will be structurally sound after remodeling and stabilization efforts.

"Part of this building has fallen off before into the alley, and the building across the street to the east, just a few years ago, part of it fell off onto the sidewalk," said Moore.

City Building Inspector Greg Tyson agrees with the decision to demolish the building.

"After about 70 years, the sand and mortar compound they used back in the teens and early '20s, it's nothing but sand," he said. "The mortar just goes away."

The exterior plan calls for an antique brick look with a metal awning and uplighting. The building will have an elevator.

Built circa 1875 to 1880, the structure was lowered from three stories to two circa 1900 to 1910 and altered with a veneer of stucco circa 1980 to 1985. The street level originally contained three storefronts.

With the rebuild, Tyson said the adjoining building will no longer bear any weight from 401 North Fillmore.

Community Development and Planning Director Dave Huwe consulted with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History about the plan for the building. The state agency requested a copy of the structural engineer's report for its records and advised the commission to be mindful that the corner property is a key entry point to the city's historic district. The agency does not oppose the demolition.

Smith previously told the commission he hopes to secure a single tenant for the building, although it could accommodate more than one.