On Nov. 17, three weeks after a large sinkhole formed on the property, Parrish Place commercial complex at the intersection of Highway 17 and Prince Street in Georgetown collapsed.
For nearly eight months the unusable building stood as owner Tony Jordan waited to see if the city, the state or anyone would claim responsibility for the destroyed building he feels was caused by the sinkholes.
The craters started forming in that block of the city shortly after water was removed from underground at a rate of 60,000 gallons per hour for weeks.
The project to help the city with its flooding problems is being conducted by the South Carolina Department of Transportation.
The work is being spearheaded by Davis and Floyd Engineering.
Jordan said he has “heard nothing” from the city or any other entity associated with the drainage project since a meeting was held with property owners in late November.
Jordan said he got tired of waiting for whoever is responsible to take care of removing the building, so he decided it was time to do it himself.
Although he does have some insurance that is helping with the demolition costs, it is still costing him “thousands and thousands” of dollars out of his pocket to do with no guarantee he will ever recoup his losses.
“It is just time to try to get this behind us and move forward,” Jordan said Thursday as he watched crews tear down the building that has been part of the city’s landscape since the 1950s. “It’s important to do this to move on with our lives.”
Jordan said since no one is claiming responsibility for the damage, it’s likely the only way he will have a chance to recover his losses is through litigation, although no lawsuits have yet been filed.
“It would be good for folks who are responsible to come forward and take care of this problem,” Jordan said. “No one has talked to us. We are on our own to prove what happened.”
As a way to save some money, all the metal from the building is being placed in piles and will be sold for recycling. This will also help Jordan reduce his costs for taking debris to the county landfill.
He said S&W Concrete has agreed to take the concrete from the site so that will not have to be taken to the landfill.
Jordan said it will take about a week to clear the site and he does not know what will happen to the property in the future.
He said so far, it has not been declared safe to use.
Jordan also owns other commercial buildings in the same block. One of the buildings — before the sinkholes formed — was the home of his Allstate Insurance Agency.
That building now has severe cracks and has been deemed unsafe, so it cannot be used.
The insurance agency moved to one of Jordan’s neighboring buildings but his UPS Store, which was one of the businesses in Parrish Place, has been closed since the building collapsed.
That is expected to change in the next month or two when the UPS Store reopens at a new location on Highmarket Street behind McDonalds.
Jordan said he has also been told the dewatering process — which must take place in order to complete the drainage project — is set to resume soon.
State officials say they have put safeguards in place to make sure the water removal process does not cause any additional damage.
By Scott Harper
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