Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The developers that proposed building student housing where the Palmetto Compress Building sits have stopped their efforts in obtaining the property.
That doesn't mean the building is safe from demolition.
"It's just a shame to wipe it out, I mean people need to have a connection to their past, they need to be able to look at something besides photos, they should be able to go up and touch the bricks," says Richard Burts, owner of 701 Whaley.
Burts has lived in Columbia his entire life. When he heard several months ago that the Palmetto Compress Building was on the chopping block, he knew if approved it would result in tearing down a historic landmark.
"It just saddens me to think that a building that has so much human energy into it, that we are going to dismantle it," said Burts.
The Compress Building built 100 years ago was nestled in the middle of Ward One, a neighborhood where African Americans lived in the early 1900's.
Recently a developer decided to not continue with its plan to tear it down.
Now the owners of the historic building have obtained a permit to demolish it anyway as soon as April.
"This would never happen in Charleston, no one would ever think of tearing down a building that's on the nation register of historic places in Charleston," said Guy Jones.
Jones says it was mind-blowing to him when he heard the news. But the demolition is legal.
Because a building is on the national registry does not protect it from being torn down. The pressure in on the mayor and council members to make the building a local landmark. Burts says they are working to make that happen.
"This building is important, the petition has been a success, we have gotten about 1,000 signatures signed up already," said Burts.
We contacted the mayor about the pending demolition and he said in a statement, "I would personally love to see the Palmetto Compress Warehouse put to adaptive reuse. The only way an economically feasible adaptive reuse plan for the building will ever be developed and its potential realized is if all parties can work together."