• 84°

Owner hopes to save city’s historic Coffee Pot

A Brookhaven landmark was severely damaged and partiallycollapsed during a construction accident earlier this month, butthe owner of The Coffee Pot says he’s optimistic the originalstructure can be saved.

Dalton Lofton, who owns the building, said a construction crewwas digging a car-wash pit behind the building and a water holdingtank beside the building when the accident occurred around Sept.15.

“He knocked a concrete pillar down on the right side, and thebuilding just collapsed. He swung the bucket (of the backhoe) intoit,” Lofton said.

Lofton would not name the construction company but said the manhad worked for him in the past and the work then wassatisfactory.

Lofton said that when the right rear masonry support broke, thesecond story collapsed onto the first at the rear of the buildingbefore the building fell outward.

The damage was not limited to the rear of the structure, hesaid, and some separation cracks are visible at the windows anddoors throughout the building.

Lofton said he believes he can save the original structure, withits landmark coffee pot, but the later additions to building, addedin the early 1930s, are not likely to be replaced.

“As of right now, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” he said.”I’ll try to save the original building, but beyond that I justdon’t know. If I could find some pictures of the original CoffeePot, the way it was first built, I might try to restore it tothat.”

The building was not insured, Lofton said, because he was in theprocess of changing insurance companies and had allowed it tolapse. He was also not sure if the company hired for theconstruction project was insured or bonded.

“I haven’t been able to get in contact with him since ithappened,” Lofton said.

Lofton estimated he’s spent more than $50,000 in restoring thestructure since he purchased the building in 1998.

Lofton has received numerous calls from residents asking aboutthe accident. Many have even volunteered to donate money to arestoration fund to help him rebuild, he said.

In the meantime, Easy Ride Auto Sales, which had been operatingout of The Coffee Pot, remains open, but its offices have movednext door to the automotive mechanic’s shop Lofton also owns.