The City of Conover will start demolishing its old Broyhill furniture plant property in the downtown business district in the next couple of weeks, its first major physical step toward redeveloping the prime site.
Crews will use heavy machines to tear down the 400,000 square feet of space. For safety purposes, they will use no explosives or wrecking balls, the city announced last week.
Conover is spending about $300,000 to demolish the plant. The work will take about 90 days.
Once the work is finished, city officials will hold public forums to get residents' ideas on uses for the land. They'll combine that information with a market study done earlier.
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Broyhill made furniture at the site for more than 60 years. The largest building closed in 2005; the city bought it that year.
The Brownfields Real Estate Co. has a five-year option to purchase the property and market it.
Conover will keep and renovate the old Warlong Glove Factory next to the Broyhill plant and hopes to put it to new use by 2011. The city plans to move the Conover branch of the Catawba County library into Warlong, make the structure available for future passenger train service through the area and for the headquarters of the local public transit authority. It also plans a park on the site.
City Manager Donald Duncan said officials want residents' ideas. “We want the public to feel like they have a part in the process,” Duncan said. “This is a big project for the city.”