UNION — The building that once housed a Piggly Wiggly grocery store will be demolished to make way for the construction of a new Family Dollar store.
Some equipment was already in place and the area around the store taped off Friday in anticipation of the upcoming demolition of the building. The demolition will not take place, however, until after the company hired to demolish the building is issued a demolition permit by the City of Union Planning Department. The demolition permit will not be issued until the contractor receives a permit from DHEC and provides the planning department with a copy of it.
“Any time a building in the city is demolished the contractor has to get a DHEC permit before we can issue them a demolition permit, ” Zoning Coordinator Connie Burgess said Friday. “When we talked with them at the beginning of the week they said they were waiting on their DHEC permit.”
Business License Coordinator Barbara McCall said the company handling the demolition, D.H. Griffin Wrecking Co. of Duncan, first contacted the planning department about its intent to demolish the building on Aug. 28. She said the company asked about getting a demolition permit and was told it would have to get the DHEC permit first.
Once the building is demolished and the debris cleared away, a new Family Dollar store will be built on the site. Burgess said the department has received plans for the new Family Dollar store that will be built.
Currently, there are two Family Dollar stores in Union, one of them at 410 E. Main St. next to the old Piggly Wiggly store and the other located at 1230 S. Duncan Bypass. When contacted by The Union Daily Times about the company’s plans, a Family Dollar official declined comment.
The building, located at 400 E. Main St., has been vacant since November 2010 when Piggly Wiggly Carolinas Co. closed the store along with two others in Pacolet and Cowpens. In announcing the closings, a company spokesman said the stores, which Piggly Wiggly Carolinas had owned for the past 10 years, were being closed due to the downturn in the economy which began two years earlier. The stores were described as having been underperforming for an extended period of time and facing increased pressure from new competitors.
Earlier this year, Union City Council voted unanimously to approve second and final reading of an ordinance rezoning the property from A-4 Office, Residential and Institutional to A-1 Central Business. The rezoning was requested by FD Group, LLC of Chattanooga, Tenn., on behalf of the owners of the property, Timothy and Anne Gowan. The rezoning application stated the owners planned to use the site for a retail/mercantile facility.
While it was used for years as a Piggly Wiggly grocery store, the building was never zoned for that purpose, having been built before the implementation of municipal zoning. Even though it was a non-conforming use, the store was grandfathered in and allowed to continue operating.
The site lost its grandfather status after it was closed and its utilities shut off for more than 90 days. It became part of the A-4 zone which doesn’t permit property to be used as a retail/mercantile facility such as a convenience or grocery store. To use it as such, the owners had to request the city extend the nearby Central Business District to include the site.
In applying for the rezoning, the owners stated at the time that they intended to renovate the building and leave the site as it existed, though with the required tenant and code improvements.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.