CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The City of Charleston has hired a construction company to begin work to stabilize the Read Brothers buildings on King Street.
City Council voted on Tuesday to approve a $41,700 contract with NBM Construction Company Inc.
The longtime downtown fabrics and stereo store was ordered to close because of concern the structures it occupies could come tumbling down.
According to city officials, the city has been monitoring the properties, located on 593, 591 and 589 ½ King Street, since April 12, 2017, due to concerns about portions of the building's brickwork.
Officials say the city retained the services of structural engineer Craig Bennett who assessed the properties.
"In the latest report on August 4, Mr. Bennett stated that portions of the Read Brothers buildings pose a 'significant threat to life safety,' which resulted in the city ordering the buildings closed until they were stabilized," the city officials said.
"Throughout our history, the city of Charleston has relied on property owners to maintain the safety of their own buildings," said city of Charleston spokesman Jack O'Toole. "Occasionally, however, when public safety is potentially at significant risk, the city has been forced to act quickly to secure a structure, as is the case here."
The owner of the building, Tom Read, said he has hired a structural engineer to do his own assessment, calling the report "extremist."
The city released the following information on Wednesday:
Here is the initial April report:
Here is the additional report submitted Aug. 3: