City may restore historic Greensboro building

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The city of Greensboro's mayor and staff are considering using a rarely-applied law to bring much needed repairs to a deteriorating historic building downtown.

The old Cascade Saloon is the vacant building between the railroad tracks on South Elm Street, bridging the gap between North Elm and South Elm businesses, according to Preservation Greensboro Executive Director Benjamin Briggs.

"To see it vacant just breaks my heart," said Briggs. "The top of the building used to have a very elaborate cornice on it with peaks and gables. I could see an incredible brew pub there. I could see a really cool gift store there or some sort of salon of some kind."

For the last 25-30 years, it's sat vacant and barely standing.

"It leaks dramatically -- lots, and then that's affected the structure and the walls and their ability to stand," said mayor Robbie Perkins, which is why he considers it a public safety hazard.

Perkins said the city may use a law that would allow it to make repairs to the roof and walls to make the historic building more structurally sound. The city would place a lien on the property for the work done. The current owner could pay the lien, but if he doesn't, the old saloon would go into foreclosure, and the city could sell it to a new buyer.

"It is a part of the whole street scene down there and because of the nature of the land in the railroad right of way, you wouldn't be able to rebuild that structure, so there wouldn't ever be something to fill that whole again if it once came down," Perkins said.

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