Officials evaluate IHFC repairs

May. 24, 2014 @ 05:39 PM

Concern that part of a wall of one of the largest showroom buildings in High Point could be unstable prompted the city to close part of a downtown street this weekend.
A structural engineer identified problems with the south wall of the International Home Furnishings Center Main Wing in the 200 block of S. Main Street and advised the city to close Wrenn Street under the affected area as a safety precaution, according to International Market Centers, the owner of the building.
There also is a potential threat to surrounding buildings, city officials said.
“There was some concern that bricks or other debris may be falling off the upper floors,” said City Manager Strib Boynton. “There’s no thought that anything’s imminent, but we were advised that the problem is real, and therefore, I asked my staff to take the lead in working with (IMC) to reduce any risk to people or property.”
Wrenn Street remains closed to vehicles and pedestrians between Commerce Avenue and Green Drive until at least Tuesday, when city officials and IMC re-evaluate the building.
In a statement, IMC, which bought the IHFC in 2011, said the building “had been badly neglected by its former owners and was knowingly in need of repairs. IMC did a thorough evaluation of the buildings and developed a five-year capital investment plan to address repairs and enhancements.” IMC hired a structural engineer to assess the building and noted the problems with the wall during a follow-up inspection.
“IMC is working with the structural engineer, a local contractor, and the city of High Point to define a plan for demolition and the replacement wall structure,” the company’s statement read. “Repair of the affected areas of IHFC will begin as soon as the designs are completed and approved by city officials.”
Boynton said the High Point Fire Department is taking the lead in determining safety precautions in the area.
The building is separate from the IHFC showroom complex at 210 E. Commerce Ave. A group of investors led by private equity firms Bain Capital and Oaktree Capital Group raised over $1 billion to buy the IHFC properties, as well as the Showplace and Market Square showrooms, three years ago.