Work advances, but not done, on ailing IHFC wall

Aug. 05, 2014 @ 05:06 PM

Workers have made progress shoring up an unstable facade on part of the International Home Furnishings Center, though no date has been set on completing repairs that began more than two months ago.

Structural engineers found a problem with a wall that could cause it to collapse. Since late May, a section of Wrenn Street between Commerce Avenue and Green Drive downtown has been blocked to through traffic next to the area.
So far the repair project and closed section of Wrenn, which is in the heart of the High Point Market showroom district, hasn’t disrupted trade show activity. Pre-Market will take place Sept. 15-16 — it’s an industry gathering about a month before each furniture market where a smaller number of exhibitors and their customers do business.
The fall High Point Market officially takes place Oct. 18-23.
The goal of International Market Centers, which owns and operates the IHFC, is to have the work complete prior to the fall market. The project is expected to cost $4 million, the company says.
In the next two to three weeks, workers should stabilize the brick facade, said city Fire Marshal Chris Weir.
In essence, work crews are stabilizing the facade so the bricks then can be safely removed to determine what has caused the underlying problem with the wall.
“What had happened is the brick facade itself to the building had some areas where it had actually kind of separated from the building a little bit. So they had concerns as to the stability of that wall,” Weir told The High Point Enterprise.
The brick facade is being stabilized before it’s removed for the safety of workers, Weir said.
“This is really out of an overabundance of caution because they didn’t want to start the demolition and have a large part of the brick separate from the building potentially,” the he said.
After the facade is removed, workers will evaluate the wall underneath the bricks, Weir said. Completing the project will hinge on the condition of the underlying wall.
Last month, International Market Centers received a demolition and asbestos removal permit from the city for the project. International Market Centers is progressing with the work, said Chief Executive Officer Robert Maricich.
“Though it is a massive undertaking, there were no ‘surprises’ as we begin removing brick,” Maricich said.
pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528