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City wants to raze Florentine building for redevelopment of block

November 8, 2018

FLORENCE, S.C. – The city of Florence is poised to take the first step to demolish the Florentine Building.

The city has asked its design review board to provide a certificate of appropriateness to demolish the building at 305 W. Evans St.

Tax records show that the city purchased the building on June 1 from Ashby Builders LLC for a price of $1.85 million.

According to Florence Downtown Development manager Ray Reich, the city purchased the property and contiguous property with the goal of redeveloping the 300 block of West Evans Street. He added that the city was in contractual negotiations with an out-of-town developer regarding the block.

The design review board will consider the matter at its Nov. 14 meeting. However, the Florence Historical Commission must review the property for historical value. The historical society meets the day before the design review board’s meeting, Nov. 13, and so the decision on the certificate of appropriateness could be delayed until December or early next year.

If the city secures a certificate of appropriateness, the city must then present how it plans to dispose of the asbestos that may be inside the building before the demolition can be approved.

The eight-story building was constructed in 1951 and has an area of 31,146 square feet. It was originally named the Aiken House and held 36 efficiency apartments, 12 one-bedroom apartments, two two-bedroom apartments, a rooftop terrace, and eight commercial spaces on the ground floor.

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