Concerns about former hotel’s condition prompt street closure

Oct. 14, 2013 @ 04:45 PM

Concerns that the former Kilby Hotel building might be near collapse prompted city officials to take additional precautions over the weekend.
A portion of Washington Street in front of the property was closed to traffic after someone called 911 Sunday morning to report that they heard glass breaking and cracking noises emanating from the structure, according to city officials.
The two-block stretch remained closed Monday while building inspectors assessed the three-story structure, which was declared unsafe by the city in January after its roof collapsed.
“There were some settling sounds, like the roof and the second and third floors are still falling in on themselves. There are cracks in the front facade and loose bricks around the top,” said Assistant City Manager Randy McCaslin. “As a precaution, we closed off the street, not wanting anyone to get hurt if it did cave in on itself or fall out in street.”
The City Council has given the property owners until Oct. 21 to stabilize the building or face having it demolished by the city.
The property was a key part of High Point’s black business and entertainment community during the early- to mid-20th century, but its condition has worsened since it closed down.
Co-owner Myra Williams on Monday disputed the city’s assertions about the state of the building and maintained that it’s not in imminent danger of collapsing.
She said she and other family members are trying to save the building by raising the money needed to stabilize and clean it up, which would cost an estimated $175,000 to $300,000.
It was granted historic status in 1982.
The street closure also takes in First Baptist Church Cathedral next to the Kilby.
The church sanctuary, built in 1907, was declared unsafe and closed by the city earlier this year because of structural deficiencies in the walls. The congregation is trying to raise the funds to have the building torn down.
McCaslin said concerns have been raised of late that the church steeple might be falling back into the building and that inspectors were checking on it.
“Just as a precaution, we closed that area too,” he said.
First Baptist Senior Pastor Michael Robinson said about $8,000 has been raised toward the extraction and preservation of the building’s 18 stained glass windows.