December 15, 2001
By Janis Reid
Construction on the building on West Broad Street intended for a United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors lodge may be be lagging or even on hold according to sources close to the project.
The quasi-religious sect has operated a compound in the Putnam County town of Eatonton since 1993 and combines elements of black empowerment, biblical themes, Egyptian polytheism and alien visitation. The Broad Street property was deeded to Nuwaubian Nation founder Malachi Z. York on March 31, 2000.
While the building was originally intended as a Nuwaubian meeting lodge, a renovation permit listing the intended use as a bookstore was issued for the 6,000-square-foot building in April of this year.
Athens-Clarke County building inspectors have not received a request for required interim inspections of electrical, plumbing and other systems at the 815 W. Broad St. location since Oct. 8, according to Ken Hix, director of the county's building inspections department.
It is not unusual for a building project to go two months without an inspection, Hix said, suggesting that construction delays might account for the lack of inspection requests.
If no work is done on a construction project for six months -- a rare occurrence, Hix said -- inspectors have the option to hold an administrative hearing to discontinue the building permit.
According to county records, the project is being handled by Macon-based construction company, Nu-waubian General Contractor.
A man working for the contracting company said Friday that the project was on hold because the Nuwaubians are focusing on new projects in Macon.
Those projects include the purchase of the Al Sihah Shrine Temple in Macon, according to Thomas Chism, a member of the Nuwaubian group and owner of All Eyes on Egypt, an Atlanta Highway bookstore and gift shop.
Some members of the Nuwabian group have organized as the Al Mahdi Shrine Temple. Chism said the Nuwaubians and the Al Mahdi Shrine Temple are not affiliated.
The Macon Telegraph reported in May that $25,000 in earnest money had been paid to the Al Sihah Shriners for the 71-year-old temple building and two parking lots included in the property. Whether the purchase has been finalized could not be established Friday.
Chism said despite the group's projects in Macon, construction is on schedule for the Broad Street building.
He said work has focused on the interior of the building and he expects construction to be complete in the first months of 2002. Chism said he will be moving his bookstore to the Broad Street location.
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