UPDATE: Street Blocked as Work Continues on Downtown Building

Workers at the LEder Building.
Workers use a platform crane to examine the facade on the Leder building.

Repair work is continuing on the former Leder Bros. department store in downtown Whiteville, where a brick facade threatened to collapse Wednesday.

City Manager Darren Currie said the facade was noticed to be leaning Wednesday.

“The brick facade is coming loose from the original building,” he said in an email. “Once we found out about the issue, we closed the street until it could be addressed by an engineer. Once engineering is complete and a fix is complete, we will reopen the street. We don’t know if it will fall or not but the potential is certainly there.”

The city closed Madison between Commerce and Main streets. Most businesses remain open in the area, although the sidewalk in front of the Leder building is closed.

The landmark department store is being renovated into a new boutique mall, Mercantile on Madison, and will feature individual stalls and booths for local businesses.

A passerby contacted city officials Wednesday morning and reported the facade appeared to be leaning outward.  Owner J.E. Thompson contacted an engineer who was on scene Wednesday afternoon.

The facade had been in place for decades, and reportedly underwent repairs in the 1980s. The building exterior is currently being restored to approximate its original mid-twentieth century appearance.

About Jefferson Weaver 2040 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and he can be reached at (910) 914-6056, (910) 632-4965, or by email at [email protected].