Talks about restoring an abandoned building at 9 N. Hugh St. came up again Monday night during a Committee of the Whole meeting of the Plano City Council. It had been nearly a year since the building was last discussed.
About a year ago, city council members voiced support for taking over ownership of the building and making it available to the Plano Historical Society for its office. City Attorney Tom Grant told council members Monday night that he had checked and learned there were no outstanding tax liens against the property.
He said he filed a lien for repairs to the building and added that if the city accepts the deed for the property, all taxes against the property would be erased. Grant said he now has the deed for the property but had not recorded it before this meeting.
Building, Planning and Zoning Director Tom Karpas said he had been in the building about a year ago. It has been boarded up to avoid more vandalism, he said.
He said the vacant building has been in a state of deterioration and disrepair for several years. He recalled that at one time a dentist office had been in the building.
When asked about the possibility of asbestos in the building, he said he was not able to enter the basement to look at the heating system because the electricity has been disconnected and he could not see to walk down to the basement. He added that the steps did not appear to be in good condition.
If the heating system is the old boiler type, it most likely will contain some asbestos. But he said he noted some heating register grills in the floor, which would not have been used with a boiler system.
“Until we do a survey of the building, we don’t know what we have to deal with,” he added.
Hausler said the lease for the building would be with the Plano Historical Society, which would be responsible for all major repairs, including replacement of the furnace if needed.
“Having a building used for this kind of purpose seems much better than having it go on and on like it has been,” Karpas said.
The mayor said the historical society is ready to start a fundraising campaign so it can rehab the building for use as an office.
The city would hold title to the building because it is buying back the taxes. It would then lease the property to the historical society for $1 a year, Hausler said. He said it’s not likely anyone could afford to pay the back taxes and then invest money in making the building usable for a new business.
“The renovation and rehabilitation work could be done by the museum officials. They do have a bit of money, but the majority of the work will be in the form of in-kind donations of either labor, materials or both,” Karpas said.
He said the building needs interior work such as painting, repairing of drywall and cosmetic repairs of damage done by vandals. A new heating system also will be needed, he added.
The city would be responsible for some maintenance such as any future repairs to the roof, siding and similar items, Karpas said.