UPDATED: Building collapse currently attributed to removal of load-bearing wall during unauthorized work
UPDATED: Mountain Xpress reports Friday that preliminary investigation by the City of Asheville “attributes the collapse to the removal of a load-bearing wall.”
Read the full Xpress article here: City: unauthorized work led to Carolina Lane building collapse
More on Thursday’s surprise building collapse, in which a two-story downtown brick building behind Bouchon and between North Lexington and Carolina Lane collapsed into rubble.
The building was beside Liquid Dragon tattoo parlor on the Bouchon Creperie courtyard, a semi-private courtyard abutting Scully’s and office buildings facing North Lexington and Walnut. The address seems to be is 15 Carolina Lane.
Two contractors thought possibly to be inside were not at the scene. There were no injuries in the collapse.
BACKSTORY AND EFFECTS ON NORTH LEXINGTON BUSINESS
According to Mackensy Lunsford of Asheville Scene, Bouchon owner Michel Baudouin planned to add a second-floor dining room to the building that collapsed, and demolition was partially underway. Bouchon will be open today, despite the collapse.
According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, there was no permit issued for work in the building:
“That concerns me when we have a collapse,” said Robert Griffin, director of the city Development Services Department.
“I don’t know if their work contributed to the building collapse or not,” Griffin also said. “We need to investigate that. That’s the primary concern.”
He said other agencies will probably investigate the incident as well. Any work on a commercial building requires a permit under state law, Griffin said, to protect the public.
Griffin said a stop work order was issued to J.D. Wallace and Mountain Brook Homes following the collapse. The company could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.
“It’s a really serious offense for a licensed contractor to do work without a permit,” Griffin said.
Read the full Citizen-Times article here: Downtown Asheville building collapses
The Citizen-Times reports that six to 10 businesses in the North Lexington area (Mela, etc.) were directly affected, with some closing due to debris from the collapse affecting exits and seating capacity, or because they lost electricity. The collapse may have damaged electrical lines in the area.
Reader Jenny Bowen writes on Facebook that the building once housed the Asheville Postcard Company:
From a local history point of view, the loss this old building is actually very tragic.
The building once housed the Asheville Postcard Company, which greatly influenced our town’s history as a tourist destination – especially during the tumultuous times of the Great Depression.
My personal feelings aside, I hope the City of Asheville goes through a thorough due process of holding responsible parties accountable.
Graphic designer Jay Smilanic, who works nearby, posted to Facebook that the collapse felt like a small earthquake. His photo of the scene on Thursday:
“Our office shook, then came the sirens,” wrote Smilanic’s co-worker Jessica Stouder on Facebook, minutes after the collapse.
Here’s her photograph of the collapsed building.
Other eyewitnesses reported a billow of what looked like smoke, but was actually dust, just after the collapse.
Music promoter and downtown CEO/entrepreneur Sean O’Connell was an eyewitness to the collapse. He took this photo from Carolina Lane:
Did you see or hear yesterday’s collapse? Share your information and photographs here.