Last week there was a fire in the Miller Furniture Building at 314 S. Elm St.

Downtown Greensboro Inc. (DGI) President Zack Matheny took the opportunity to point out that something needs to be done about the 300 block of South Elm.

Matheny in an email noted that fortunately no one was injured in the fire, but that the fire “essentially shut the South part of downtown down.  This is extremely difficult for the restaurants, especially the newly opened ‘Cille & ‘Scoe.  In addition, the expense to the City is very costly as there were 8 trucks and many personnel.”

Matheny added, “Simply put, this block has to improve.  This is not fair to the neighbors, to the city and much more.”

This isn’t the first time Matheny has expressed concerns about this particular block in downtown Greensboro.  In May 2021, Matheny sent an email to the property and business owners on the 300 block of South Elm that stated, “I write you today in an attempt to have a communicative and collaborative approach to this very important block in the heart of the center city.  Our office receives more calls about this block, in particular, the empty storefronts, graffiti, etc. than any other section in downtown.”

In August 2021, after a fire on that block, Matheny sent out another email to the property and business owners in the 300 block of South Elm.  Matheny notes that he had not received much response to his email in May asking for solutions, but “we have received a number of calls and concerns regarding safety, folks sleeping in alcoves, etc. Of course, the majority of this is around empty buildings.  Empty buildings are a huge deterrent to other property and business owners.”

In that email Matheny suggests increased fire, building and health inspections for the vacant buildings.

Matheny ends that email stating, “We want to work with the City in moving forward in making this block a crown jewel, not what it has been the last 10 years.”