GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Greensboro city inspectors will walk through the vacant Miller Furniture building on Tuesday, following a fire that damaged the roof on Jan. 14.
Code enforcement officials will focus on 314 S Elm St. but can expand their inspection to other buildings if there are signs of damage.
Business owners nearby are hopeful inspections lead to action at the other vacant buildings on the block.
“The neglect is obvious to anyone walking by,” said Brian Lampkin, owner of Scuppernong Books. “We think we’re an anchor store. But to have an anchor store, you need stores building around you. You need some density of people.”
He explained the shop is more like an island surrounded by at least four other abandoned buildings.
“It’s just been the same for eight years. The same emptiness. The same disrepair. It becomes a little hopeless on my end,” Lampkin said Monday.
Downtown Greensboro Inc. President Zack Matheny said some of the buildings need to be brought up to code.
“Public safety is paramount. In the last 12 months, we’ve had two buildings in this…block catch fire,” he explained.
While they’re hoping to attract long-term tenants, anything is better than empty buildings.
“We have done pop-ups on this block to activate the space in hopes the owner of the building would see the benefit of having the space rented,” Matheny said.
DGI made offers to some property owners on the block for office space and ran into roadblocks.
“Sometimes it can be challenging to have these conversations. Sometimes a building may be in the family for many generations, so it’s tough to let go of sometimes. What we’re seeing now is public safety issues, fairness to your neighbor. We can’t allow these things to happen in a residential population in a neighborhood. Shouldn’t let it happen downtown as well,” Matheny said.
Inspections will begin on Tuesday at 3 p.m.