Sunday, September 20, 2015

Grindstaff Concerned about Demolishing Historic Building

San Angelo City Councilwoman Elizabeth Grindstaff expressed concern about the destruction of a historic building in downtown San Angelo and the City approving $75,000 in TIRZ funding for that very purpose.  The building at 236 W. Beauregard is part of the Butterfield Building complex.  City staff stated the building had become a nuisance, occupied by vagrants and drug abusers.

That certainly described the Roosevelt Hotel when I moved to San Angelo in 1994.  Shannon Medical Center effectively barricaded the building, using it for storage.  The Roosevelt was not destroyed and has a good chance of returning to downtown as a viable entity.  The building currently under consideration for demolition is shown below:

Grindstaff's other concern regarded the public footing much of the bill for demolition in cases where the owner failed to maintain the property.  Butterfield Plaza, Inc. owns the complex.  James and Debbie Chiu of Odessa, Texas are listed as officers of Butterfield Plaza.  They also own several restaurant companies in Odessa.

ERA Realtors' website shows the Butterfield complex for sale for $1.5 million. City documents indicate the cost of asbestos removal and demolition to be $231,000.  The TIRZ application submitted by the building's owners refers to the building as "abandoned," while staff call it "condemned". Excerpts from the TIRZ application state:

We are asking for help in demolishing the abandoned building located at 236 W. Beauregard Ave and turning it into a parking lot. The property located next door is the Butterfield Plaza I and II buildings. We are currently renovating the Butterfield buildings with a scarce budget, but have already brought in over 8 new business into area within the past year. One of the buildings don't have any tenants and will require a significant amount of money to remodel 

First, at it's current state, the apartment is depreciating to a dangerous state. It would be too costly to try and rehab the complex. It is safer to tear the property down and turn it into a parking lot that will create more open space to showcase the surrounding structures, but add utility at the same time. By helping fund this project, we will be enhancing public safety, improving vehicular infrastructure, and beautifying downtown.
Tom Green County Tax Appraisal District records show the Chiu's purchased the Butterfield complex in 1995.  The buildings deteriorated the last twenty years under their ownership.   The city, through its TIRZ structure, will help rid the community of one historic eyesore.  The project has a final hurdle before the Design and Historic Review Commission.  Then it will be history. 

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