Wednesday, January 8 2014 5:50 PM EST2014-01-08 22:50:22 GMT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
The historic Webber Building in downtown Montgomery partially collapsed Thursday while under a multi-million dollar renovation.
Authorities say there were no injuries as workers were able to get out of the building prior to the collapse. While the roof structure appears to be intact, a large portion of the brick facade has crumbled away from the side of the structure.
According to the website for Borden Morris Garner Consulting Engineers, the 29,000-square-foot, three-story building was under a $3 million renovation that was to be completed by the end of the year. Plans for the renovated building include a Momma Goldberg's, a coffee shop, architect firm offices and apartments.
Project manager and co-owner of Design Build South of Alabama David Payne released a statement Thursday.
"We already have a plan being developed for shoring and rebuilding. We will press ahead. Thankful that God was watching over the men on the job and that everyone walked away injury free," Payne said.
The building, dating back to 1860, is loaded with history. It was once the home of the Montgomery Theatre where famous actors and actresses, including future assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth, performed. And with charcoal in hand, Herman Arnold, Director of the Montgomery Brass Band, transcribed the tune that would later become known as "Dixie" on a backstage wall in the building.
The theatre closed in 1907 and the building's life was spent in the form of several department stores over the 20th century, including the Webber Department Store for which it retains the name.
As part of downtown Montgomery's rebirth, numerous historic structures are finding new life in a construction and renovation boom. The Webber Building found itself in the same position when, in 2012, it was slated for renovation.
The building was to be renovated in an "Adaptive Reuse Property" by Design Build South and Payne and Associates Architects. It was to be turned into a mixed-use building with two restaurants on the first floor, office space on the second floor, and loft apartments on the third floor.