Threefoot Building Study Update

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Officials in Meridian are talking about the results of a seismic study on one of this city's oldest buildings.

The study on the Threefoot Building was commissioned early last year.

According to Mayor Cheri Barry the overall results are mixed, leaving the future of the city's only skyscraper in limbo.

Paid for with grant money from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, the seismic study reveals that the Threefoot foundation is sound. The concern now is the portion of the building that's above ground.

Barry says weather conditions are the building's worst enemy right now. Broken windows and water seeping between the building's bricks and main structure are just two trouble spots.

"My concern is the facade, the mold, the asbestos, the weathering by the elements and the building as a whole," said Barry.

Barry says prior to her taking office, it cost the previous administration more than $100,000 just to put blue covers over a portion of the outside of the building to preserve it. Given this fact, and the fact that the building has more than 15 floors, she estimates that it will cost well over $1 million just to board up the building.

To slow deterioration, each month the city pays for insurance and utilities for the building. Right now Mayor Barry says the city is looking for a private investor to restore it and get it back on the tax roll.

"We would love for a private investor or entrepreneur to come in and either purchase or for the city to give the building to them," Barry said. "If we could turn that building into a shopping mall or a school, or a hospital or a McDonald's home. There are so many wonderful things that could happen to that old building, but the time clock is ticking in my opinion."

The Threefoot Building opened in 1929. It was designated an historic building in 1979. The Threefoot was closed 2000 due to deterioration and upper floor vacancies. In 2010, it was named one of America's most endangered historic places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.