NAPLES — Wet rot and hungry termites threaten the wooden beams that form the old Dairy Queen's A-frame on U.S. 41 in Naples.
But renovations will save the building's unique design, and patrons of the former ice cream shop could even see their favorite sweet treat served there by a new franchise.
The city of Naples approved building permits for the downtown restaurant last week. Engineer Mike Trapasso will replace the wooden beams with steel supports to maintain the look.
"The thing is just sitting there," he said. "The only reason it hasn't gone down is because of it's shape. It's like a pyramid. It's super strong."
Trapasso's company, Advanced Sheet Metal, will build the steel supports to replace the materials original to the building.
"We're going to make it so it stays for another 40 to 50 years," he said.
Neapolitans George and Marion Barbour, a father-daughter team, own the property, which has operated as a Dairy Queen since the late 1950s. The franchise relocated down the street this summer after a legal dispute over the land, leaving the fate of the building up in the air.
George Barbour died this spring, but Marion Barbour told the Daily News in August that she hoped to reopen the shop if she could regain control of the property. She could not be reached for comment this week.
Brian Jones, co-owner of Tamiami Buildings Inc., said he's waiting on additional city permits before work on the property can begin. In the meantime, he could not estimate a finish date or cost for the project, but said the owner has told him she's interested in opening another ice cream shop.
"We all have a soft spot in our hearts for the DQ building," he said. "The owner is sensitive to that."
A design firm has not yet been chosen, Jones said.
"When I was a kid, after the football or baseball games were over at Cambier Park, it didn't matter if you won or lost, you got to go to the Dairy Queen after the big games," Jones said.
The new Dairy Queen Grill & Chill at 694 U.S. 41 N. is open for business.
Mayor John Sorey said he is glad the old building will be around.
"It's great because that building is part of the cultural fabric of the city," he said. "I'm excited about keeping that as a workable, useable property."