Wednesday, May 23, 2012

City May Demolish City Hall for Ballpark

Update: City Council approved a plan to build a baseball stadium at the City Hall site. Click here.

Original Story: 
City Hall Property

If local businessmen are successful in acquiring a Triple-A baseball club, the City may be willing to demolish City Hall in order to make the land available for a baseball stadium. That's according to a KVIA story by long-time reporter Darren Hunt. City officials are reportedly considering the idea due to timelines associated with the ball club acquisition; the understanding has been that a baseball stadium would have to be built downtown quickly in order to accommodate the deal.
Kress Building (from Wikipedia)

City offices, of course, would have to find new quarters, and talk of renovating the old Kress Building a few blocks away has been overheard at City Hall. The historic building is too small to accommodate all City offices, but it is a solution for some relocation. It is unclear what other spaces the City may move to, but there have been rumors for years of occupying the Blue Flame building near County and Federal offices. The Blue Flame buildings is owned by Paul Foster, one of the businessmen reportedly working on the deal to acquire the Triple-A club. The City also recently showed interest in the Roberts-Banner Building on the same block as the Kress.

City Hall is also in consideration as a future Arena site.

City Hall was built in 1979, and is reportedly in need of many repairs. In addition, the design of the building and surrounding surface parking lot are not in line with the vision the City has for Downtown. City Rep. Steve Ortega has asked the City Manager for cost estimates of emptying and demolishing City Hall, and states in the KVIA story that it all could happen withing the next eight to 16 months. In contrast, trying to acquire other properties for a ballpark could take years, so the City seems to be in favor of the City Hall option.