Downtown apartments in the works for Erwin

Empty historical building may soon come to life

By LAURA PATTERSON
Assistant managing editor
Posted 10/12/21

An old corner bank building in downtown Erwin – empty for a number of years – may soon find a new use. On Thursday, the town of Erwin Board of Commissioners unanimously gave the green …

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Downtown apartments in the works for Erwin

Empty historical building may soon come to life

Posted

An old corner bank building in downtown Erwin – empty for a number of years – may soon find a new use. On Thursday, the town of Erwin Board of Commissioners unanimously gave the green light on a special use permit application for second floor apartments at 101 E. H St.

The building, located on a prominent corner of the downtown area, is owned by Nargis and Kamal Toma of Raleigh. They plan to put four apartment units on the second floor of the building.

Speaking in favor of the application during the public comment portion of the meeting was the owners’ granddaughter, Megan Toma.

“Our overall goal is to renovate and restore the building,” Toma said. “It’s a beautiful brick building that I think could be a major focal point to your downtown and kinda help begin to revive your downtown area.

“We’re planning on renovating the second floor first,” she said, “but with the second floor renovation we’re hoping to also restore the windows and improve the outside, and just really restore the building altogether. Hopefully, to entice some new tenants to take over the first floor spaces and we’re hoping those will be commercial.”

Toma said the plan is to maintain the historical nature and character of the outside of the building and keep most of the historical finishes and trims on the inside intact.

“The apartments and other building improvements will be brought up to current code,” Town Manager Snow Bowden told the commissioners in a memo before Thursday’s meeting. Plans call for four separate apartments, including two one-bedroom units and two two-bedroom units.

“There was a previous conditional use permit that was approved for this building to have apartments on the second floor. No action was taken on the permit within a year and it expired,” Bowden wrote in the memo.

Commissioner Billy Turnage asked why they did not do this before when the application was previously approved.

Toma, who is an architect, said her grandmother bought the building to do as a project with her, and at that time she was starting her own firm and also had a baby, so the project was put on hold.

“We have engineer drawings and everything is wrapping up,” Toma said, adding they hope to submit their final permits next week.

Built in 1903, the building at the corner of East H Street and 13th Street was once shared by Bank of Harnett and E.R. Thomas Drug Company. Bank of Harnett later became Central Carolina Bank, which later became SunTrust Bank.

For many years since, though, it sat vacant and untouched next to its Cotton Row Antiques and Decor and Nationwide Insurance neighbors.

Construction is booming in the little town of Erwin where a 64-unit apartment complex is planned off of Maynard Lake Road. On Denim Drive, alone, a new school is taking shape, Good Hope Hospital is completing a new wing and new houses are popping up in and around town.

Managing Editor Emily Weaver contributed to this story.

Reach Laura Patterson at lpatterson@mydailyrecord.com or 910-230-2029.

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