[image-1]The Read Brothers building at 593 King St. has been forced to close after a new report from structural engineer Craig Bennett deemed it a “significant threat to life safety.”

The city of Charleston has been monitoring the state of the building since this past April; on April 12 the Post & Courier reported that the city put out orange barriers to block the sidewalks outside of the stereo and fabric store building, and that there were “freshly fallen bricks” from the building on the ground.
[image-6] In Bennett’s letter to city of Charleston deputy building official Edye Graves, he notes several steps that need to be taken to secure the more than a century old building which the Read family has occupied since 1912. “The northeast corner column of the 593 King Street building, the column on the corner of King and Spring Streets, absolutely must be structurally confined to reduce the risk of catastrophic failure,” writes Bennett. “Both the structure and the veneer of the column have been severely damaged and the column remains a significant threat to life safety.”

Bennett goes on to write that, “It is extremely important that the main Read Brothers Building be monitored for both structural movement (i.e. widening of cracks) and loosening of elements of the facade. Several cracks on the building have been cited particularly on the third floor on the west facade, that are so loose that there’s concern the facade will :fall with construction vibration and traffic vibration, and perhaps even with wind-induced movement of the building.”

Owner Thomas Read was unavailable for comment this afternoon.  [pdf-2] [pdf-1]