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DDRA moves toward demolition of Booker Building - Dothan Eagle: News

DDRA moves toward demolition of Booker Building

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Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 5:06 pm | Updated: 12:36 pm, Wed Mar 19, 2014.

Another aging downtown building could be on a path to demolition.

The Dothan Downtown Redevelopment Authority voted Wednesday to pursue demolition of the old Booker Building at 143 E. Main St., close to Nektar Restaurant.

The DDRA obtained the building and land in April after a lengthy court battle. DDRA Executive Director Jansen Tidmore said the authority has received several inquiries from businesses interested in the land, but not the building. DDRA projects committee chairman Jim McGhee said one engineering firm had expressed serious interest in the land with the intent to build a building for the firm.

Tidmore said a structural review of the building indicated extensive repair and renovation of the current building would be needed to make the building suitable for a tenant.

The DDRA authorized a 30-day window to receive serious inquiries from anyone interested in saving the building. Anyone interested can contact Tidmore at 334-699-8118.

The motion also authorizes Tidmore to execute an asbestos inspection at a cost not to exceed $950. Tidmore also briefed the authority on two other downtown projects that appear to be dead or on hold.

The Bennett Group has decided to pull out of a proposed project to renovate the old Howell School and adjacent property for the purpose of creating an assisted living complex. Tidmore said the project may move forward with a different developer and a different financing mechanism. The Bennett Group had hoped to use historic preservation tax incentives as a major part of its financing for the $14 million project, but Tidmore said the expected return would not be as much as hoped. Also, the group had planned on procuring a loan secured with future anticipated Community Development Block Grant money. That process has been dropped.

Also, Tidmore said the law firm of Cobb, Boyd, White and Cobb has pulled out of a proposed plan to locate its Dothan firm on the site of the old Wadlington Hotel on North Foster Street. Members of the firm said last July that they had entered into a partnership to build a building on the site, with law offices on the first floor and a bed and breakfast on the second floor. Tidmore said the DDRA has continued to receive inquiries on the site and hopes to begin receiving additional proposals soon.

The DDRA’s next scheduled meeting will be March 19.

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