Town battles owners over future of Heritage Square, Summerville - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Town battles owners over future of Heritage Square in Summerville

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The Town of Summerville and owners of Heritage Square are in a court battle over the future of the old grocery store.

The Save More Foods grocery store sits at the corner of Highway 78 and Berlin G Myers Parkway. According to court documents the building has been vacant for several years. In October 2009, the roof collapsed. When the owner didn't repair the building, the town condemned it in February 2010. 

The issue is if the building is a danger to public safety. According to the town's lawyer, the town incorporated the "International Property Maintenance Code" into the town's ordinances. The ordinance requires buildings to meet certain safety and usability requirements. According to the town, the building isn't safe and needs to be demolished.

"We're closer but it seems like we're taking the journey in inches instead of miles," Town lawyer, GW Parker said.

Over the course of the last three years, the owners have filed several appeals to overturn the demolition order.  In court documents, the owner argues for alternative options rather than just tearing down the building.  Some of those options would be bracing the building or putting a fence around it. The owner further argues the building retains significant value for reuse and just needs renovations.

"My clients are diligently working to redevelop the site," Heritage Square lawyer, Andrew Gowder, Jr said in a statement to News 2.

Since the initial order in 2010, several times a judge sided with the town. In the most recent hearing in March 2013 the judge said "Heritage has been given every opportunity and ample time to rectify the situation, yet the safety of the public remains at risk."

Some of the concerns are for the homeless who appear to live in the building.  There is further concern the building will collapse.

"There will be a limit to motions to reconsider at some point," Parker said.

In April, Gowder filed another motion to further delay the demolition. A new court date has not been set.

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