Top-O-Rock site secured by Rachel Molenda, Staff writer - See more at: http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140625/GZ01/140629554

Charleston Gazette

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

 

The view from Top-O-Rock is changing, as plywood boards fill its once-expansive wall of glass windows that overlooked the capital city. 

Building Commissioner Tony Harmon said Wednesday the work began last Friday and is being performed by Kingry Construction, Inc. 

“They’re trying to board it up and secure it and everything,” Harmon said.  The city’s Building Commission gave Dr. Mitchell Rashid and Kamila L. Rashid — Top-O-Rock’s current owners — 21 days to present a plan for the building last month.  The Rashids needed to clean up the broken glass that covers the property, put plywood in the broken windows and submit a plan of action to the city for the house, Harmon told the Gazette in May. 

There were no crews on site Wednesday afternoon, but plywood has been installed in some windows, and a fence now surrounds the structure.  The Rashids purchased the house on Goddard Road, designed by famed architect Henry Elden, in 2011 for $400,000.  Dr. Mitchell Rashid could not be reached for comment Wednesday. 

Little has developed since the Gazette first reported in May that the iconic glass house was in major disrepair and potentially slated for demolition.   For now, neither the building’s owner Dr. Mitchell Rashid nor Rodney Loftis of Rodney Loftis & Son Contractors have applied for demolition permits, Harmon said. Dr. Mitchell Rashid reportedly approached Loftis in May to do the job. 

Henry Battle, president of the Kanawha Valley Historical & Preservation Society, said the nonprofit organization is acting as a “fiscal agent” for the Save Top-O-Rock group that was organized by citizens to spare the building from destruction.  “We’re willing to do that to help out, as long as it’s legitimate,” Battle said of the agreement, which has been done with other historic preservation initiatives in the past.  Shortly after the Gazette reported Top-O-Rock’s condition, Jennifer Peters started the Save Top-O-Rock Facebook group and initiated a GoFundMe fundraising campaign.   

More than $1,000 of the group’s $5,000 goal has been raised since May, according to the GoFundMe webpage.  The group’s membership is nearing 1,500 members, and a petition to save the building has gotten more than 720 signatures.  Peters did not return a call for comment Wednesday.  Preservation Society board member Thom Stevens told the Gazette Wednesday that “there are positive developments” regarding Top-O-Rock’s condition, but would not explain what those developments are. 

“I think everybody is of the same mindset that it’s too early to talk about anything publicly,” Stevens said.   “And that’s in order to give all the parties that are working on it the opportunity to come to a successful resolution.  ”When asked if a person or organization offered to purchase the building from the Rashids, Stevens would only say, “Those are the kind of questions we just can’t comment on at the moment. ”

Reach Rachel Molenda at rachel.molenda@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.