A Conway landmark may soon get a face lift, in the name of weatherization.
The Peanut Warehouse, located at 150 Laurel Street in Conway, was purchased a few months ago by CHS of 1995 Investments, which consists of three Conway High Class of 1995 graduates, Jamie McLain, Jay Holbert, and Heath Adams.
McLain came before Conway’s Community Appearance Board (CAB) on Wednesday to request to place natural cypress siding over the existing outside façade of the building, in order to cover holes and keep rain from further deteriorating the original walls.
The board approved his request so that he could order materials, but told McLain he needed to come back for a final approval on a sample of the siding finish before installation could take place.
He also requested to replace the windows and seals, but that request was deferred so the board can view samples of the windows and concentrate on the two requests separately.
McLain said the natural “rough-hewn” cypress siding had to be milled specifically for them, and would take three months to receive once ordered. The cypress would last 75-100 years, and should weather to the color of the current siding within three to four years, he said.
The Peanut Warehouse was built in 1900, and originally was a storage house for tobacco, later to be followed by peanuts, hence the name.
Scott Thompson, owner of Thompson Farm and Nursery, has leased the building for the past three years to host events. He said he hosts approximately 35 events there each year, and said people know the building is not climate-controlled and know not to book events for June, July and August due to the season's heat. He said people do like the rustic look of the property.
“It’s tough because you want to see it weathered, but it’s deteriorating,” said CAB member Troy Roehm. “I mean, would you rather us say no, and then eventually there’s no Peanut Warehouse?”
Some members of the CAB expressed worry that with such a historical landmark, locals will be upset to see siding being installed.
Brenda Ivester said it was a tough decision, and that they would want to keep some historical aspects left.
“If you cover it with siding, it won’t be the Peanut Warehouse anymore,” said CAB member Heather Whitley.
McLain pointed out that with the weather’s continuous wear on the building, its condition could worsen.
“If we let it deteriorate, it won’t be the Peanut Warehouse anymore,” McLain said in response.
Whitley wanted to know if the siding could be stained to be closer to the current color of the building, as not to shock residents with a different look.
CAB historic design review guidelines referenced during the meeting indicated that only natural, non-synthetic components were to be used, and McLain said the siding would "act differently", and not weather to the correct color if stain was used.
CAB member Matthew Richardson mentioned there might be natural ways to weather the wood before installation, and was in favor of helping to keep deterioration at bay.
“I appreciate that it’s going to be there when my kids grow up,” Richardson said.
Jessica Hucks, zoning administrator for the City of Conway, said that McLain had already gone through the South Carolina Department of History and Archives to make sure this siding was an appropriate option.
McLain plans to order materials, and the CAB asked that he research natural weathering options before returning for final approval in a few months.