After nearly a year of development, officials with Piazza Construction are ready to move forward with the redevelopment of a complex of former doctor’s offices just outside of the old Texoma Medical Center campus. Representatives for the builder gave an update on the project during a meeting in Denison Tuesday night, with the city council approving a timetable for the construction.
“It feels good to be at this stage,” developer Chip Piazza said Tuesday. “There has been a lot of behind-the-scenes work to get it to this point.”
Piazza said he is prepared to move forward with the redevelopment of the site, located at 1119 Martin Luther King Blvd., into a new 16-unit multi-family development. For the residential development, Piazza said he plans to make it age restricted with a focus on senior living.
Designs and architectural plans for the site are expected to be done within a week with permits pulled some time in October, Piazza said. The project itself is projected to be complete by early March, Piazza said.
“Mr. Piazza, this has been a long hard road to get here, but we are so excited about what you are doing out there on that hill,” Denison Mayor Janet Gott said.
Plans to redevelop the site were first discussed in October 2017 when building officials sought permission from the city council to declare the site unsafe and order the demolish the buildings. During the meeting, developer Chip Piazza successfully petitioned for additional time to conduct interior demolitions on the structure to prepare it for redevelopment.
While the council initially gave Piazza two months to complete the work, Piazza came back before the council in late December after it was discovered that the site contained asbestos that would need to be abated. At the time, Piazza said this was expected to increase the cost of the project significantly.
“The situation is that after the asbestos is removed I need to do some soul searching on if the property should be razed to the ring site or if I can afford to push the property forward,” Piazza said in December.
Through much of the early 20th century, asbestos was used as a building material, but use declined in the 1980s as evidence of its toxicity began to grow. Illnesses related to the material include several forms of respiratory cancer and asbestosis, the scaring of the lungs connected to the inhalation of the material.
The development came before the council a third time in April when Piazza asked for an additional extension to continue work at the site. At the time Piazza said he was still working with banks regarding financing for the project; however, the buildings had been demolished to their frames. Piazza said the financial institutions had concerns regarding the future of the old Texoma Medical Center complex, which sits near the site.