Places in Peril 2011: Eligibility Building

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Designed by Milburn & Heister as a Freemasons Lodge in 1924, the building was acquired by Durham County during the Great Depression. It has been vacant since 1992, and deterioration of the roof has resulted in significant water damage, especially to the top floor. The Eligibility Building and the vacant site to its east were purchased in 2007 but the status of any renovation project remains uncertain.

eligibility building

What’s Needed: Preservation Durham supports the redevelopment of the building and infill development on the adjoining lot. Ideally, the development would encourage uses that re-engage the street level and re-open the once gracious storefronts. Until a full renovation can be completed, the building should be secured and stabilized, starting with repairs to the roof and building envelope to prevent further deterioration. Preservation Durham also offers our assistance in identifying funding sources such as state and federal grants and tax credit programs that might help kick start the project.

UPDATE: As of late 2011, the owner and developer had secured an agreement with The Image Collections to occupy much of the building, converting it to Durham’s newest event space called 300 East Main. It was slated to open in Spring of 2012, but this date has been pushed back to late Summer. The proposed design is meant to compliment the historic features and presence of the building while also infusing it with the hip, big-city presence that inspired its use as an event space.