It has been 82 days since our City Council voted 6-1 in Executive Session to spend $28,929.27 “to address safety concerns for two structures” within the “Arena Footprint” in an effort to “work with the opposition to identify options for a resolution of the ongoing lawsuit.”
I have attached last Friday’s press release announcing that work will begin this coming Tuesday, June 21.
The structures are the Chinese Laundry at 212 W. Overland and the Flor de Luna Building at 300 W. Overland, which are described as “dilapidated” in the press release.
These two buildings are among 12 buildings within the “Arena Footprint” that the County has nominated to the National Register of Historic Places based on the recommendations of its 2017 architectural survey.
The Flor de Luna Building is “dilapidated” because it was damaged by a bulldozer on September 12, 2017. The City had issued demolition permits to raze the neighborhood to the ground but demolition was stopped by order of the 8th Court of Appeals.
Billy Abraham had owned the Chinese Laundry. He was planning to list the building as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (RTHL) and even filed the application, but then he withdrew it when the City offered him $855,000 for the building, several times its CAD valuation.
Before the buildings were damaged in 2017, the owners of these properties had no incentive to restore them or even to make repairs. Once the Quality of Life bonds were approved in 2012, the owners knew that the City would probably acquire their properties for some public work project, which turned out to be a 15,000-seat G-League basketball arena.
In any case, I am glad the City will begin to at least make some repairs to the two buildings even though the work seems nominal since the allocation is under $30,000.
I took the two attached photos of the Flor de Luna Building this past Wednesday and one can see that the City has already installed two vertical braces to support the upper floor.
I hope the City will make repairs to the other damaged buildings so that they may be protected until they can be restored.
Happy Father’s Day.