New building proposed to replace Exchange Warehouse

At Monday’s regular meeting of the South Hill Town Council, Town Manager Kim Callis updated the council on the public works/public event multipurpose structure proposed to be located on W. Danville Street at the site of the former Exchange Warehouse.

Callis said the new structure would be 20,000 square feet with 18,000 square feet of usable floor space and estimated the building would cost between $1.5 million and $1.6 million.

It would feature a large, open floor plan, office space, restrooms, closets and an elevated platform to be used as a stage.

While the main purpose of the structure would be equipment storage, Callis said it could also be used as a rain location for community events and rented out for events such as dances, reunions and large gatherings.

Callis proposed the streetfront of the new structure reflect the historical nature of the building it’s replacing and surrounding structures while being visually appealing and practical.

“For historical purposes, we’d like to keep some of the architectural features of the Exchange Warehouse, like the staggered roofline, the brick façade and some of the arches above the large drive-in doors,” he said. “But we also need to be practical about it, and we don’t need five drive-in doors on the front of the building. We’d like to have some more windows to allow for some natural light, and while we recommend that the front of the building and the two sides for just a short distance back remain brick, most of the building will be a metal building.”

Council member Mike Moody noted in the council packet it says a name for the building will need to be developed.

“Considering this is a whole lot of taxpayer money, have we thought about opening it up to the citizens to allow them to make suggestions?” he said.

Callis said that could be a possibility and also mentioned the name that’s been talked about is South Hill Exchange.

“It keeps the history, but it’s catchy,” Callis said.

Council member Lillie Feggins-Boone asked why there is only one set of bathrooms on one side of the building. Callis said constructing more bathrooms would increase the cost of the project and said the town would likely need to bring in porta-johns for large events.

He said he has spoken with the Friends of the R.T. Arnold Library, who annually host a fall Holiday Bazaar in a large structure around South Hill. He said this new structure would likely not be large enough to host the Holiday Bazaar in its current format, but changes to the format could be made to accommodate the facility if it were ever necessary to host it there.

“This (proposed new building) is not as big as the Golden Leaf Warehouse or the Dixie Warehouse, but we have to consider the funding too,” Callis said.

In a related matter, Public Works Director Bill Wilson said the last standing structure of the Exchange Warehouse was taken down Aug. 3 and the town’s contractor for the demolition completed its contract work Aug. 15.

The town and the Public Works Department handled disposal of the demolition debris and restoration of the site.

The total debris amount taken to the Brunswick County Landfill was 603.2 tons.

“Much of the timbers were salvaged, metal recycled and masonry debris either crushed or stockpiled for future use,” Wilson said.

As for restoration of the site, he estimated 90 percent of the fill dirt has been compacted in place and said he expects the project to be completed by mid-September.