With a fate that has been hanging in the balance for years, the historic Cascade Saloon on Elm street may be saved through an offer made to the City of Greensboro by Preservation Greensboro Inc.
Cascade Saloon is one of the oldest structures in downtown Greensboro, and in desperate need of stabilization. The building is currently owned by the City of Greensboro, and on July 10 members of City Council reviewed their options on what to do with the structure.
Assistant City Manager David Parrish presented the best bids received by the City to preserve or demolish the structure. The best demolition bid came back with an estimated cost of $600,000. This shocked some members of Council.
“How can the Greensboro Inn be torn down for $35,000 and this one would be so much more expensive?” said councilman Tony Wilkins.
Cascade’s Saloon proximity to the railroad tracks would complicate demolition. Permits would be needed to ensure that crews would not disrupt the railway traffic, which according to Mayor Nancy Vaughan, sees 65 trains pass through downtown every day.
A recent bid from PGI offered to take the property from the City in order to secure and preserve the building. PGI asks that the City pay them $170,000 to help subsidize the cost of stabilizing the structure.
“This is much better than the initial plan,” said councilman Zack Matheny. “The city can save money. Financially for the City this is a lot better deal than we had anticipated.”
Other members of council were skeptical.
“What if people can’t get to the Cantina and other businesses nearby while construction is going on?” said council member Sharon Hightower.
Other council members argued that the risk of disrupting local businesses was a lesser concern compared to the benefit of preserving a historic building for $430,000 less than the cost of demolishing it.
“We have to make the best decision for the city,” said council member Nancy Hoffman. “Not just one person.”
Matheny added that the City of Greensboro was not a good landlord, and that it would be better for the building to be owned by PGI anyway.
Council decided that they needed more information from PGI about the intended future of Cascade Saloon before they could make a decision about the bid.
“Because we don’t know the end use, we can’t make that decision right now,” said Mayor Vaughan.