Foreman’s Lumber–Dreams Go Up In Flames
By Kip Tabb –
With flames leaping into the early morning sky, the Kitty Hawk Fire Department, in cooperation with the fire departments from the northern beaches, burned the Foreman’s Lumber building to the ground in a training exercise Saturday morning. Probably the best use for the building after the Kitty Hawk Town Council gutted any hope for a productive use of the property.
Architecturally it was never much to look at, so I suppose the change from a weathered wooden eyesore to a burned and charred eyesore wasn’t such a huge change.
It is frustrating though. Because the fact is, a viable and very achievable plan was presented to the Kitty Hawk Town Council and after months of dragging their feet on a vote, finally created conditions that added so much to the cost and time to the project, that the developer, Al Giese, had no choice but to walk away from it.
The plan that Al and his wife, Carol, presented to the town council had widespread public support. What the Gieses were hoping to create was an outdoor farmer’s market with small retail businesses inside that would sign 30 day leases.
“This opportunity for us to have a store without the commitment to a full year’ lease . . . is . . . the only way that we can see ourselves growing into the business that we want to become. We intend to be . . . an Outer Banks company . . . That is our dream,” Brynn Waite of Brynn & Amie Artisan Food said.
It was more than a developer believing his concept was viable; more than the small business owner dreaming of success. Even the Planning Board approved the plans unanimously.
In the end, though, it came down to a parking lot . . . an overflow parking lot. Al asked for a conditional use permit that would allow him to leave the parking lot as grass. The council felt otherwise. “Everybody has to pave their required parking,” Mayor Cliff Perry said, speaking for the council.
It was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back . . . a $127,000 budget breaking and time chomping burden that stopped the project in its tracks.
And now this—a building that goes from eyesore to eyesore and building to ashes. And as it burns, so do dreams go up in flames.