Soil studies start at condo site

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 8, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; A company started inspected the soil beneath the old Natchez Pecan Factory Friday, one of the steps the state Department of Archives and History has required before condos can be built.

A geotechnical firm was conducting soil borings at the site Friday.

&8220;They&8217;re doing it for Archives and History as well as for architects and (to satisfy) the city,&8221; City Engineer David Gardner said.

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Last month, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History&8217;s permitting board said it will need to receive geotechnical report stating the bluff can support the proposed complex before the board will OK demolition of the Pecan Factory building.

The permitting board also named engineering firm Burns, Cooley and Dennis as the company that would perform the geotechnical study.

That&8217;s the same firm that conducted studies for a bluff stabilization project conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The board said it will have to approve plans for the condos before the city can tear down the Pecan Factory building and before developers Ed Worley and Larry Brown Jr. can start construction.

Those plans must conform, in footprint and outside elevations, to plans already approved by the state and city.

The permitting board MDAH is also requiring a signed contract be submitted to the department before demolition and development proceeds.

And the board also said it wants an agreement with the city that the city will retain ownership of any archaeological artifacts removed from the site.

Late last year, with meetings to iron out the proposed condos&8217; details behind them, the developers said they could break ground as early as July and finish building the complex in 14 to 18 months.