DANVILLE — A step forward in the process to possibly demolish Danville’s landmark Bresee Tower might be taken tonight.
That’s when the city’s Historic Preservation Commission will vote on a city petition to approve a certificate of appropriateness that would remove the building’s landmark status.
Approval of the action would allow the city to begin seeking bids for a company to bring the 12-story building to the ground.
“We believe that’s the best path forward,” Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. said. “We’re still putting together our specs to seek bids. We’re still completing the (requests for proposals) for this specific project.”
Constructed in 1918, the building looms over downtown and is visible for miles, but has long fallen into disrepair.
Initially known as the First National Bank building, it has housed numerous tenants and has had several owners. It became known as Bresee Tower after the Bresee family of Champaign bought it.
C.A. Collins Enterprises LLC bought the property in July 2018, but the company did not develop it, and the building fell into further disrepair. In May, the city was issued a judicial deed that found that the property had been abandoned and transferred ownership to the city.
Another company then entered the picture when Celadon Partners of Chicago said it would like to save the building from the wrecking ball. It has proposed a $19.5 million renovation that would call for more than $10 million in federal and state tax credits and more than $3 million in financial help from the city. Williams said he is not in favor of that arrangement.
The Historic Preservation Commission will discuss the issue at its meeting set for 6 p.m. Thursday at the municipal building.
City ordinance requires the historic commission to clear a property for demolition if it is registered on the National Building of Historic Places or could be.
No city council action is needed if commission approval is secured.