The Denison City Council gave a reprieve from demolition to a group of former doctor’s offices, located at 1119 Martin Luther King, near the former Texoma Medical Center complex. Local developer Chip Piazza asked for the extension in order to prep the site for planned redevelopment into 16 residential properties.
Following a brief discussion, the council gave Piazza two months to complete interior demolitions of the property with plans to discuss the future of the project and design work in coming months.
“I purchased the property some time ago with the intention of developing it into a multi-family project,” Piazza said during Monday’s meeting.
In previous cases, the council will typically vote to move forward with the demolition of properties following similar reports unless a representative for the property is present to petition for an extension. When a property owner asks for an extension, the city’s normal practice is to offer 10 days to pull a building permit and six months to complete the project. If these conditions have not been met, the city will move forward with demolition.
During Monday’s report, Denison building official Betty Floyd said the property was open and an attractive nuisance to neighboring properties and neighborhoods. She noted it had broken windows and doors, and a canopy connecting the individual offices had started to collapse.
Floyd said Piazza pulled a specific demolition permit for interior demolition for the property in early September, but has yet to start work on the project. Piazza said his intention was to take the buildings down to their bases in preparation of the project.
Once the interior demolitions have been made and developers have a better understanding of the condition of the property, Piazza said he plans to move forward with design work. When asked by the council, Piazza estimated it would take him about six weeks to complete the interior demolitions and about six months for design work.
Once the interior demolitions have taken place, Piazza said the property would no longer be an immediate threat to public safety, and would soon after be weather tight.
Mayor Jared Johnson expressed some concerns about the lack of an immediate time frame for the project, and asked that Piazza finish the interior demolitions and then return to the city to discuss future development.
“What we can’t do is be out 12 months from now and have no progress out there,” Johnson said.
The council ultimately voted unanimously to give Piazza two months to complete the interior demolition and then return back to the city to discuss future plans. Council member Kris Spiegel said the city typically offers six months to complete the full project, but noted that this was a unique case that went well beyond the scope of what is typically brought before the council.
“We know you, we know you do a good job,” Johnson said to Piazza, voicing his support for the motion. “However, we have to be consistent with everyone who comes before us.”
Following the meeting, Johnson said the area surrounding the property has been in a state of transition away from what had previously been commercial uses to residential developments.
“That particular site is very desirable for what his intentions are,” Johnson said.
The council received a report on unsafe conditions at the former offices, and four other properties, as part of Monday’s council meeting. In separate actions, the council approved the demolition of properties located at 412 W. Monterey, 617 W. Florence and 1115 S. Rusk.