Back to News

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Demolition of City Buildings Estimated at $6 Million

Demolition of City Buildings Estimated at $6 Million
Midland Reporter-Telegram

by Joseph Basco

One local architectural firm has estimated $5.99 million as the cost for the city of Midland to remove asbestos and demolish three vacant downtown buildings, including the former Midland County Courthouse, a potential site for downtown development.

On Tuesday, Gary Vandergriff of Vandergriff Group Architects presented to the City Council the cost estimate, timeline and means of demolition. Other than the multi-million dollar estimate, Vandergriff revealed an project timeline that involves nine to 10 weeks of asbestos abatement, six months of mechanical demolition of the courthouse, three months of mechanical demolition of the Mid-America Building and Midland Executive Center and one month of site reclamation.

So if the project follows the timeline, the sites will be cleared out by late December or early January 2016. The new timeline replaced previous estimates made by the city that had demolition completion for March.

Vandergriff said implosions for demolition, as opposed to the mechanical method listed in the cost estimate, is not suitable because of the small size of the buildings. He added that implosion for demolition would be better for buildings with 10 or more stories.

During the demolition, the areas will be fenced off and streets around the sites will remain open.

On that thought, the council also pondered what would become for special events that take place in Centennial Plaza while demolition goes on.

City Manager Courtney Sharp said to the council that the Midland Chamber of Commerce is considering moving the Star Spangled Salute event to Hogan Park, mainly because the event has grown.

Sharp also invited the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to hear Vandergriff’s presentation, as it holds the Mex-Tex festival at the downtown plaza each summer. Hispanic chamber representatives on Tuesday said they are still planning how to handle Mex-Tex this year, now that the demolition has to be considered.

City Council hired Vandergriff Group Architects back in October to study the three buildings and provide cost estimates for the asbestos abatement and demolition.

By undergoing the demolition process for the old buildings, the city can attract private developers to build on the sites, or the city itself can convert the sites into parking lots or possibly new city buildings.

“A lot of people have looked at these properties to see if there is any adaptive reuse, recycling and redevelopment of these properties, and I think it’s been the general consensus that they’re probably antiquated and there’s probably a better use for the land than the buildings that are sitting there now,” Vandergriff said. “They’re old, they’re very difficult to remodel and it’s probably a better situation that these buildings come down and present better opportunities for the future of downtown.”

One such new development for the historial courthouse site is Hotel Santa Rita No. 1, a boutique hotel proposed for the old courthouse site. Hotel developers publicly announced plans for the 17-story hotel on Dec. 2.

On Dec. 16, city council and hotel developers agreed to exclusive negotiating for the old courthouse property until March 31. Though developers have expressed intent to negotiate with the city for an incentive agreement for the $100 million project, it has yet to come before city council for a discussion or vote.

No development plans have been announced for the Mid-America Building and Midland Executive Center sites.

For now, the city will begin the bidding process for the abatement, demolition and reclamation jobs. Bids are due on Feb. 26.

City Council has yet to allocate the funds for the demolitions but may do so when a contractor is chosen.