UNION — The building that housed the old Piggly Wiggly store is a now a pile of rubble.
Located at 400 E. Main St., the building had been vacant since November 2010 when Piggly Wiggly Carolinas Co. closed the store along with two others in Pacolet and Cowpens. The company, which had owned the stores for 10 years, said that they were being closed because they had been underperforming the past two years due to the downturn in the economy and increased pressure from new competitors.
In September, equipment owned by the D.H. Griffin Wrecking Co. of Duncan was parked in the parking lot and the area taped off in preparation for the demolition of the building. The demolition could not take place, however, until the company got a demolition permit from the City of Union Planning Department. To get that, however, the company had to first get a permit from DHEC and provide the department with a copy of it.
Zoning Coordinator Connie Burgess said Monday that the company did just that Thursday, providing a copy of the DHEC permit to her department and being issued a permit for the demolition of the building.
By Saturday, the building was nothing but a pile of rubble which must now be cleared away before work can begin on the new Family Dollar store which will be built on the site.
Burgess said that Family Dollar has submitted the paperwork for the construction of the new store. She said the plan review has been completed but the permit has not been issued yet.
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.
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.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.