Preservation group says Florence can save the old Trust building

The Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation toured the Trust building on West Evans Street Thursday morning and says the building appears to be in good condition and can be saved.

The City of Florence wants to demolish the 96-year-old building to make way for Francis Marion University's medical college.

The Preservation's Executive Director, Michael Bedenbaugh, says there is water damage, but not enough to say the building is no good.

"The buildings is still in good concrete construction. So the main bones of the building are still in good shape. Upstairs there is a lot of water intrusion where the water has been leaking and unfortunately the neglect of the past 10 years is showing its wear and tear. But all of its surface," said Bedenbaugh.

He says underneath all the dirt in the seven story building are beautiful tile floors.

"Unfortunately, some people just get caught up in the concept of newness and we feel at the Palmetto Trust that protecting places that are here that tell the story of a place has an asset unto itself and it's worth saving."

Bedenbaugh adds the roof is not as bad as the city is making it out to be.

"The roof, the woodframe part of the roof is built on a concrete slab part. So there's no chance of the roof caving into the building."

Florence city officials say it will cost between $8 to $10 million to renovate the Trust building and that's money investors aren't willing to spend.

Officials say they've looked at every option and the city's only option is tear it down.

The Florence Historical Commission voted two weeks ago to delay the city's permit to demolish the building by 60 days.

The Florence Design and Review Board has yet to meet on the demolition of the Florence Trust Company Building.