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Building demo put on hold

Published 11:18 am Friday, June 27, 2014

A Vicksburg businessman’s plans to demolish the two-story brick building he owns at 2323 Washington Street have been put on hold again by the Board of Architectural Review.

The board for a second time refused to give Robert Johnson the ok to raze the building he owns at the corner of Speed and Washington streets to make way for a proposed used car lot, this time issuing a five month stay on demolition.

The building is in the city’s historic district, and the board ruled the building makes a significant contribution to the district — the same reason it gave when it issued a 4 1/2-month stay in February.

Demolition stays are issued to give property owners with buildings in the historic district time to consider alternatives to taking them down, such as renovation.

Johnson said in February he wanted to remove the building and replace it with a smaller office building.

Several board members recommended that Johnson renovate the building, including removing the top floor and remodeling and using the ground floor portion of the building.

Johnson, however, said repairing the building was not an option, adding he could not afford it.

Several members also suggested Johnson sell the building, but he said he liked the property’s corner lot because it was a good fit for his proposed car business.

The building was home to Busby & Sones TV and electronics repair shop from 1966 to 2009, according to city directories.

It was built about 1910 by Lebanese immigrant Elias B. Bodron, who settled in Vicksburg after working as a peddler in the Delta and opened Bodron’s Grocery on the building’s first floor. Bodron, his wife and five children, lived on the second floor. The building was the home of the late Sen. Ellis B. Bodron, who served 36 years in the Mississippi Legislature in the House and Senate, from 1948 to 1983. Two of those years he served as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Mr. Bodron left the home in the 1960s after he married.

The building and the lot north of it were sold in 1975 to Busby & Sones.