The former American Standard Building Systems building off Stultz Road has been badly damaged by vandals, according to a local real estate broker.
Each window in the office portion of the 140,000 square-foot building has been smashed, and offices have been ransacked, said Jim Barnett, president and CEO of Barnett Commercial Realty, which is marketing the property.
Also, walls have been defaced, ceiling tiles have been torn down, most of the electrical wiring has been ripped out and electrical junction boxes have been either removed or destroyed, according to Barnett.
“Basically, all that is left is a badly damaged shell,” he said, adding that the building no longer is usable.
Barnett’s firm has listed the property, which straddles the Martinsville-Henry County boundary, for sale at $799,000. However, he said that any value likely would be in its 22 acres of land and building materials that could be salvaged, such as scrap metal and bricks that might be reusable.
American Standard, which manufactured building products, closed and filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008.
It would cost more than the price of the property to make the building usable again, Barnett surmised.
“Any building can be rehabilitated, but at what cost?” he said. “And at what cost is it economically viable to do that?”
Ciena Capital LLC of Charlotte, N.C., which Barnett said bought the building at an auction, now owns the property. He said the damage was noticed after Ciena asked for Barnett Commercial Realty’s help in marketing the building about a month ago.
Similar destruction has occurred at other vacant local industrial properties, Barnett and Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry noted.
Perry said sheriff’s deputies try to ride by such properties frequently, but any damages that occur are not always immediately noticeable.
“Where you don’t have workers on a regular basis, sometimes you’re not aware (of problems there) until a lengthy time (after they occur),” he said.
Barnett said the same thing that happened at American Standard also has happened at the former Henry County Plywood plant in Ridgeway.
Reached for comment late Monday, Perry did not have immediate access to incident or arrest reports pertaining to industrial site vandalism and thefts.
However, he said law enforcement officials were aware that during the past couple of years, many vacant buildings in the area had been vandalized or broken into, with the perpetrators stripping them of copper, aluminum and other materials that could sell for scrap metal. He indicated he thinks that likely is what happened at American Standard.
In some cases, Perry said, thieves have stolen metal support beams from buildings, making them structurally unsafe.
Perry said property owners could install security systems or hire guards, but he realizes such measures are costly.
Martinsville Police Chief Mike Rogers could not be reached for comment Monday.
Despite the damage to the building, the old American Standard property will continue to be marketed, Barnett said.
“As a real estate broker, I’m duty bound to receive ... all offers and present them to the owner (to make a decision on whether to sell),” he said.
Furthermore, he said the acreage is “a beautiful piece of property.”
Barnett is upset by damage occurring throughout the community. Along with the industrial site damages, he noted littering and windows that were recently shot out at businesses in Collinsville.
“It doesn’t speak well for the community,” he said, adding that it also could hurt economic development efforts because prospective companies could see local crime statistics and decide not to come here.
“I am saddened by what is happening to this beautiful community I came to 20 years ago,” he said.