$495K construction project to shore up foundation of Kitty Hawk ABC store

By on March 25, 2024

A settling foundation has the Kitty Hawk ABC store under construction until early May. (Photo credit Kip Tabb/OBV)

Construction on the Kitty Hawk ABC Store should be completed by the first week in May, according to Jake Overton, owner of Overton Contracting. The work that is being done, estimated to cost about $495,000, will stabilize the foundation to the building that was found to be settling.

During construction to repair cracks in the entrance tower—probably as a result of the settling of the foundation—customers are being directed to a side entrance to the store.

The cracks first appeared in the entrance tower to the store last year and were the first signs that there could be additional issues with the building.

Overton recalls being asked by the Dare County ABC Board to take a look at what was happening and let them know what needed to be done. The first step was obvious.

“The biggest thing with the board last year was get [the entrance] shored up and make sure that it was safe for the customers,” Overton said.

Overton got the entrance stabilized but the ABC Board didn’t want construction during the summer, “because it was going to disrupt business.”

With the entrance safe for customers but no construction last summer, Overton looked more closely at what was causing the cracks in the tower and what he found was that the foundation was settling.

“We think there’s probably just some subsurface conditions…It’s been there for [almost] 20 years. It could have been something subsurface that’s deteriorated or just because of compression in the soil,” he said. “It’s not like the whole building is going fall over. We did want to shore it up to make sure it was safe for everybody coming in there.”

The building was designed by local architects Cahoon and Kasten in 2005. After almost 20 years, the records of the design and what tests or engineering were conducted during that time no longer exist.

“We don’t keep files that long, so I can’t tell you what kind of investigations were performed,” Ben Cahoon told the Voice.

The town of Kitty Hawk was also contacted about records from the construction of the building, and according to Phyllis Carter Administrative Zoning Technician for the town, it also does not to keep permitting records going back that many years.

To stabilize the foundation, steel rods are pushed into the ground until they hold a certain amount of pressure. The rods are being placed every five feet around the foundation. Footers are then attached to the rods and placed under the foundation.

Although settling of the ground under the weight of the building is the likely cause of what happened, Overton did not rule out other causes or several factors working together. The building was designed with a gutter-less roof, and he feels that could have contributed to what happened as well.

“You had certain areas where a lot of water was coming off of the building. If in that area there was something that created a pocket [of underground water], it could be multiple things that caused it,” he said.

To address that, his team is installing rain gutters and directing the water away from the building as well as lining the foundation with rock and doing some new landscaping, “to direct all the water we could away from the foundation.”

It is a large project and Overton admits what is being done might be overkill, although he also points out there should not be any problems in the future.

“We probably did more than what we had to do, but…they [the ABC Board] wanted to…make sure it wasn’t going to have any other issues,” he said. “We feel fairly confident with the measures we put in now, there won’t be any other additional issues.”



  • Obx mermaid

    Thank you Kip for an informative story!

    Monday, Mar 25 @ 11:07 am
  • Jim

    No record of the architecture of the building and no record who built the building. My house is 22 years old, I’m the second owner but I know who built it and I’ll bet I could find the architect as well. Why do we accept less of buildings built for the government?

    Monday, Mar 25 @ 12:55 pm
  • Jay

    Jim you are correct. Buildings built for the government would retain all contract documents, (drawings, specifications, shop drawings, change orders, etc) forever. In their archives. In addition to paper copies 20 years ago all contract documents would have been created in digital media. CAD drawings and most likely WORD documents.

    Sounds fishy they can’t produce the documents. A set of drawings and specifications would have been left in the building for reference when troubleshooting any needed system repairs.

    Monday, Mar 25 @ 5:26 pm
  • Liz

    Since the tower is, I think, useless and simply decorative, why don’t they remove it?

    Monday, Mar 25 @ 6:58 pm
  • obxron

    Why not just build a new building for the HALF MILLION dollars? This is just literally a box with a roof so start over with a proper foundation

    Monday, Mar 25 @ 11:07 pm
  • KHer

    KH residents have been watching this for at least 2 years now wondering what’s going on. This building is not even 20 years old, it’s obvious it wasn’t constructed correctly. Not surprising to me at all that the plans and construction details are missing.

    Tuesday, Mar 26 @ 7:27 am
  • Jay

    Just to be clear. In my earlier post on the contract documents being created in digital files. These are files you would save on your computer. I guarantee you everyone who was a designer or engineer on this project would have in their possession a copy of the files in their personal portfolio. To say the drawings do not exist is a crock of smelly fish.

    Wednesday, Mar 27 @ 9:35 am
  • Beach Bubba

    The fleecing of America. This is a shameful waste of taxpayer dollars. Half a million to firm up the foundation? They could have built another building for that sum. Unreal.

    Friday, Mar 29 @ 6:32 pm
  • KH Boozer

    Overton got the job because his father was the engineer hired by county to evaluate the ‘settling’. Interesting that the county/abc board didn’t simply elect to remove the tower. The rest of the building appears to be fine… sounds like spending budget money because it’s there and someone on the examination side knowing it.

    Saturday, Mar 30 @ 8:50 pm
  • upnorth

    Why not use the “Pamlico Jacks Treatment” on it.

    Tuesday, Apr 2 @ 11:57 am