City: Safety measures adequate for IHFC

May. 27, 2014 @ 07:08 PM

City officials say they’re satisfied with current and planned safety measures taken by the owners of a major High Point furniture showroom to shore up one of the building’s unstable walls.
Structural engineers enlisted by International Market Centers are developing a plan to reinforce the south wall of the International Home Furnishings Center Main Wing facility in the 200 block of S. Main Street.
In recent days, concern has arisen that bricks may have fallen from the south wall of the 11-story structure. High Point Fire Marshal Chris Weir said he was on the roof of the building Tuesday and saw no indication that any bricks had fallen.
He said he believes the safety measures will be sufficient “barring any seismic activity or severe storms.”
In addition to closing part of Wrenn Street behind the building, the city has restricted access to the third floor of 215 S. Main St, which is a three-story showroom adjacent to the south wall of IHFC.
“Their (IMC’s) view is that worse case is a significant portion of brick falling would penetrate the roof (of the adjacent building) but the absorbed energy would limit the damage to the roof and third floor,” Weir stated in an email to city officials Tuesday. “When questioned they do not anticipate a catastrophic full wall failure.”
Weir said officials decided to limit access in the adjoining building “out of an abundance of caution.” He said he’s not aware of any closures planned for any part of the IHFC. IMC is checking the brick facades on all of its buildings.
“I think they’re doing their due diligence,” Weir said. “At this point, I feel comfortable with what is in place and what they’re proposing to do.”
IMC representatives could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The company stated previously that it is working on a plan to demolish and replace part of the wall’s structure.
Weir said he thinks it will take about three weeks for IMC to temporarily reinforce the wall and determine how to go about making a permanent fix.
The city advised Tuesday that Wrenn Street between E. Commerce Avenue and E. Green Drive will remain closed to pedestrian and vehicle traffic, except for delivery trucks, until the repairs are made.