Event of 1886 caused closing of King Street business, experts believe
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) —
Nick's BBQ had become sort of a mainstay on King Street, serving up BBQ dishes and all the fixins for the past 12 years. On Tuesday, however, the restaurant closed its doors for good after city officials deemed the building structurally unsafe.
One of the owners, John Haire, notified the City of Charleston on Tuesday after noticing some issues with the building that continued to exist despite repairs in December.
It didn't take structural engineers with the city long to determine everything and everyone had to be out as soon as possible.
Jacob Lindsay, the Director of Planning, Preservation and Sustainability for the city, said engineers determined the facade of the building was detached from the rest of the structure.
They believe it's a problem that dates back to the earthquake of 1886.
"We think the facade of the building was never tied to the rest of the building in the correct way," said Lindsay, who called the problem highly unusual.
So, on Wednesday, workers spent the day moving all the restaurant's equipment and supplies out of the 288 King Street location.
"We're very proud to have stood on King Street for the past 12 years," Haire said. "We have no desire to leave the peninsula."
Haire said they are actively looking for a new home, but right now his focus is on employees.
He said most will start Wednesday at the restaurant's North Charleston location. The rest will move to the new Mt. Pleasant location once it opens in late May.
Meanwhile, engineers are working to determine the best fix for the building flanked on both sides by commercial and residential buildings.
"Initially we thought the façade might have to come down, but currently we're working on a new plan to stabilize the building from the inside so no demolition at all," Lindsay said.
As for any concerns about adjoining buildings, Lindsay said they are safe and any plan to repair 288 King will not interfere with the structural integrity of the buildings.
He said the reason the city was able to work so quickly on a fix is due to Haire notifying the city immediately.
"Things that may look out of place or shifting elements of the structure are always a warning sign," Lindsay said. "This is a great example of a landowner contacting us at the very first sign of problems."
"It's not something that was built last year or 10 years or 20 years ago," added Haire. "This building was built in the 1820s as a lot of these were. It needs attention, so say something."
It might be a setback King Street, but Haire vows it's not the end of the restaurant's journey.