Preservation Greensboro working to save Egyptian Revival building, other historical buildings

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- "We have a lot of history and culture in Greensboro and that's really what makes Greensboro different than Durham and Charlotte and Raleigh," says Preservation Greensboro Executive Director Benjamin Briggs.

Making sure the city's historical architecture is around to keep Greensboro different is what Briggs and Preservation Greensboro do.

"We look out for the one-eyed cats and three-legged dogs of the building world," Briggs says.

Right now he's trying to save the Christian Advocate Publishing Company building on West Friendly Avenue from Demolition.

Built in 1927, the architecture is called Egyptian Revival and there are only a few left in the state.

"When you find one it's kind of a treat, it's a rare treasure so people look at the architecture on the outside is very different," he said.

The inside is wide open, although in need of renovation. Briggs says it could make great apartments or retail and the view from a potential roof deck is fantastic.

There's a dozen or so downtown properties on Preservation Greensboro's radar.

"We can step in and try to be a partner with property owners and find a creative way to avoid demolition," he said.

Briggs always tries to find a win-win solution so that a building won't be torn down.

They are keeping their eye on the building at the corner of South Elm Street and Washington Street, the old Miller Furniture building on South Elm and the old Southern Railway station.

"These are projects that the regular commercial real estate sector might not be able to take care of and so it maybe needs a little creative thinking," he said.

Preservation Greensboro has already saved a historic home on North Elm Street in the Fisher Park neighborhood.

Right now they are still searching for the right combination of investors to get the restoration going.

Briggs says Greensboro's South Elm Street is one-of-a-kind and largely because it has so many historical buildings.

"We should be really proud of that and try to enhance those differences instead of trying to look like a different city," he said.

Briggs is working with the property owners of the Christian Advocate Publishing Company building, the Greensboro Masonic Temple. Demolition could happen as early has Memorial Day. Plans for the property include a parking lot.

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