Road remains closed after warehouse partially collapses

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Part of East Princess Anne Road in Norfolk remains closed Monday after a vacant warehouse partially collapsed Sunday.

Norfolk dispatchers told WAVY.com that the partial collapse happened around 4:30 p.m. in the 1100 block. City Treasurer Anthony Burfoot said the building is an old tobacco warehouse, built in 1902.

Jerrell Williams, who lives nearby, said the day before the collapse he noticed a strange man anxious to leave the area.

“[He] comes running down the street, grabs his car, turns around, parks in front of this hole. Two guys come crawling out of it with copper metal wire, whatever it is, just throw it in the trunk.”

Photos: Building partially collapses in Norfolk

No one was injured, but police were on scene throughout the night. And on Monday morning, the City of Norfolk said East Princess Anne Road remained closed between Tidewater Drive and Hansen Avenue. This is because of the street’s proximity to the building, and to keep people safe.

The property owners, who make up 1235 Courtney LLC, plan to “shore the building up.” One of the partner-owners that make up the LLC, Tom Dana, a leasing agent with Thalhimer Real Estate, said a structural engineer and a contractor are now involved and working with the city.

“We are hoping to salvage the building for historic rehab,” Dana said. “It was originally the American Cigar Factory.”

The LLC is providing security personnel to help maintain safety at the site while improvements are made.

Juanite Graham, a neighbor, said she’s seen a partial collapse there before when a hurricane came through, and creepy crawlers came out: “All that happened right after Sandy came. That’show I knew about the rats ’cause when it collapsed the first time, the rats started coming over to the house.”

Burfoot said the building has the assessed value of $537,400.

Drivers are encouraged to use the following detours (information provided by the City of Norfolk:

From E. Princess Anne Road heading west

  • Turn left onto Park Avenue
  • Turn right onto E. Virginia Beach Blvd.
  • Turn right onto Tidewater Drive
  • Arrive at E. Princess Anne Road.

From Tidewater Drive northbound:

  • Turn right onto Goff Street
  • Turn right onto Hanson Avenue
  • Arrive at E. Princess Anne Road

From Tidewater Drive southbound

  • Turn right onto E. Virginia Beach Blvd. loop
  • Circle loop and continue on E. Virginia Beach Blvd. eastbound to Park Avenue
  • Turn left onto Park Avenue
  • Arrive at E. Princess Anne Road

Continue to check WAVY.com for the latest information.

WAVY/Lavoy Harrell
WAVY/Lavoy Harrell
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