Demolition of historic Florence building on hold

The Trust building in downtown Florence. Demolition was slated to begin June 17 but a permitting problem has paused those plans.

6/18/14 Update: The demolition of the Trust building in downtown Florence is still on hold as crews wait for a permit to close part of South Irby Street.

Luke Wofford, of Wofford Demolition, went to the SCDOT Florence Wednesday morning and was told by officials there that the City of Florence need to apply for the permit.

Wofford said he hopes to know more about the permit by Wednesday afternoon. We will continue to keep you posted.

The demolition of the Trust building in downtown Florence is on hold until crews can get a permit to close part of South Irby Street.

Luke Wofford of Wofford Demolition said they need a permit from the South Carolina Department of Transportation to close a portion of South Irby Street where it meets West Evans Street.

Wofford had expected to start demolishing the 97-year-building Tuesday morning.

"We having a small problem getting roads closed. We just found out yesterday we got to have a permit. I went to get the permit today and the people are not working today, so we got to wait until tomorrow. I got the people coming to close the roads and take down the traffic signal and everything. As soon as we get that done, we'll be starting with the demolition," explained Wofford.

Wofford said a track hoe that reaches 95 feet in the air has arrived from Ohio, and they'll use it to tear down the historic building piece by piece.

Wofford estimated it will take about six weeks to demolish the building.

The demolition is costing the City of Florence about $400,000.

The city is clearing the site for Francis Marion University to construct its $15 million Medical and Health Sciences Complex in downtown Florence.

Wofford said they're taking measures to be as as safe as possible demolishing the Trust building.

"Things can go wrong, but it shouldn't go wrong. We got everything. We got the safety stuff and we have our safety meetings twice a day now. We just have to get it down and take our time and don't be in no hurry," he said.

The roof of the building caught fire on May 29 but it did not do serious damage and did not impact the timeline for the demolition of the building.

The path for demolition was met with protests from two historic groups in Florence.

The groups argued that the Trust building is a landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

However, the Florence Design Review Board voted 6-1 to allow the city to tear down the seven-story skyscraper.

Construction on FMU's medical school is scheduled to start this fall. The medical school building will be three stories high and is expected to be completed by the summer of 2016.