Crabtree owner would prefer to rebuild

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Jody McSmith put the figure at a tentative $500,000.

That’s how much it would take for McSmith, the owner of the historic Crabtree Building on Fisher Street near the Plaza, to rebuild the top floor that burned a few weeks ago.

Right now, she’s in a holding pattern.

“I’m waiting on an answer from the insurance company,” said McSmith, who would prefer rebuilding over writing it off as a total loss.

The 73,000 square-foot Crabtree Building was last renovated in late 2009. Inside, new carpeting was spread over the floors and new paint was spread over the walls. The place also got a refrigerated air conditioning system.

The outside of the building was given a new stone facade, wooden porch poles and vigas. The tin roof that collapsed in the fire was also added in 2009.

Any responsibility for renovating the historical structure is up to the owner. She will get no federal funding because the building has undergone too many remodels over the years and the local historical society isn’t in a position to help out.

The Socorro County Historical Society owns and provides private tours of the old Hammel Brewery on Sixth Street.

“A few years ago, part of the rock wall on the brewery collapsed, costing us $30,000 to fix,” said Paul Harden, the society’s treasurer and a local historian, in an email. “Two months ago, that ferocious wind storm damaged some of the roof, which is costing us $5,000 to fix. In short, it is costly for the upkeep and repairs of an historic building. It keeps an owner almost insolvent!”

The historical society is not looking to buy another building that it has to be responsible for at this time, Harden said.

“The Socorro County Historical Society is strictly involved in trying to educate people about Socorro’s historical facets,” said Robert Eveleth, the society’s president.