By Associated Press - Wednesday, January 20, 2021

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (AP) - The small buildings that once comprised a shopping center on the Georgia coast may not be getting a reprieve from the wrecking ball after all.

Chris Beaufait tells The Brunswick News that he planned to buy and move the 15 buildings that once made up Pier Village. He intended to store the buildings until new owners could be found.

But Beaufait said that it turns out the buildings are too large to move easily down the island’s roads, with low-hanging oak trees and power lines.

“They’re so much larger than we anticipated,” said Beaufait, a longtime islander and owner of Monkeywrench Bicycles.

Instead, preparations for demolition began Tuesday, although Beaufait said he remains open to ideas to save them.

From the bottom to the roof, each kiosk stands 18 feet (5.5 meters) tall. He thought about laying them flat on their backs on the trailer bed. But they are nearly 10 feet (3 meters) wide at the front door and 12 feet (3.66 meters) Add the overhanging eaves for a couple of additional feet.

“By the time the mover got involved that’s when he started impressing us with his knowledge of math and local laws,” Beaufait said. “It comes down to a game of inches and you just can’t make those inches disappear.”

The property’s owner is making way for a 20,000-square-foot, two-story museum on the spot. The Greek Revival-style building will house the extensive Old West art collection of Philip Anschutz, owner of the property and also owner of Sea Island Resort. The museum also will include American Revolution and Civil War art, as well as Gullah Geechee works and other locally representative art.

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