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West Main Street construction continues

By WILLIAM PAINE

william.paine@southwesttimes.com

Work on West Main Street in Pulaski continues, most notably near the intersection of Jefferson Avenue where two buildings on each side of the street are undergoing major renovations. For several days last week, a large pile of gravel sat in front of 94 West Main, which is on the north side of the street. Even more striking, the storefront of this building was completely removed for a period of time, so that heavy extraction equipment could be moved inside.

Contractors working for Taylor Hollow Construction out of Radford were given the task of redoing the floor of 94 W. Main Street. Upon initial inspection, contractors believed that a concrete slab covered the entire bottom floor. Upon closer inspection, it was discovered that the concrete slabs extended only a few feet from the front and rear entrances, the rest was wood that was in very poor condition.

The contractor was then obliged to remove the wood and find soil that was solid enough to pour concrete footers.

Tyler Barr, of Taylor Hollow Construction out of Radford, is supervising renovations on both buildings.

“We were digging to find some solid ground but that was not the case here because the soil was full of sand and silt and not solid material,” he said.

This is likely the case because much of this section of Main Street was, at one time, a marshy area alongside Peak Creek. When the creek was straightened and walled in, much of the fill was placed in areas in what is today downtown Pulaski.

The heavy machinery was needed so that work crews could dig from 5 to 8 feet underneath the original floor to find soil solid enough to bear the weight of the gravel stored in the street. Toward the end of the week, crews had filled the hole with several tons of gravel and by Friday, concrete footers were in place.

“That’s the thing you get into with these old buildings, you never know what you’re going to get into until you start ripping it apart,” said Barr.

When completed, the space at 94 W. Main will house Next Level Virtual Reality. According to Project Manager Luke Allison, this virtual reality center will be supplied with state of the art virtual reality equipment to give the customer an unforgettable experience.

There will be two one bedroom apartments in the rooms above, but because of the unexpected flooring issue progress has been slow. The floor joists also had to be bolstered as they were not built to modern building code standards.

Across the street, the renovation is going much more smoothly.

“We’ve done all the demo work, ripping out the old stuff,” said Barr. “The roof had to be completely redone. Step one is to stop the water because that’s where the damage comes from. We’ve done a lot of shoring up structurally. The rough in plumbing is done upstairs. We’re replastering everything and we’re using all the old windows. The apartments upstairs are close to being finished.”

The building on the south side of street will house businesses at 85 and 89 West Main Street. Crescent Street Cafe at 85 West Main street is expected to open in September, while what the space next door at 89 West Main Street will be used for is still yet to be determined.

The door between the two office spaces at 87 West Main will lead to two, two bedroom apartments.

Both buildings, along with the rest of the structures on West Main Street between Washington and Jefferson Avenues, will have their facades redone in the style that was prevalent in the 1920s.

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