LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Some think it's an eyesore, while others consider it historic.Either way, the Petroleum Building in downtown Longview finally has a purpose: it is going to be remodeled into apartments.
In addition, the developers are seeking historic designation for the building.
It was built in 1953 as a parking garage and was used as office space until it fell vacant years ago. The City of Longview's Shawn Hara says developers will:
"Breathe new life into this building, and as they do that, it's going to breathe new life into this corner of downtown," Hara explained.
Saigebrook Development from Austin has built over a dozen apartment complexes providing affordable housing across Texas. They own the Petroleum Building, have secured tax credits, and now are asking for historic designation.
"Now they're going back and looking at it from the historic preservation side of things. They're actually going to be asking for a local designation through our Historic Preservation Committee that's here at the local level," Hara said.
And there could be more incentives if it receives a historic designation from the city, and they will agree to keep some of the building the same.
"What this building's historic importance is to Longview, and just making sure as it's being redone it keeps that in mind," Hara said.
Louise Coffey has been working near the Petroleum Building since 1985.
"I've always loved this building and always wished that it had been remodeled for attorney's offices. Once it started going downhill, it just seemed like it just kept going," Coffey stated.
She even used the parking garage three decades ago, and as far as becoming apartments:
"I think that's great too. There are a lot of people that like living downtown," Coffey said.
And not many can now, with little apartment space available. The Petroleum Building project is keeping in pace with development downtown.
"This is how we'd like to see it grow, and this certainly fits within that picture" Hara added.
The process of turning the Petroleum Building into a 49 unit apartment building will begin approximately summer 2019.
The Longview Historic Preservation Commission will hold a public hearing Tuesday at 2 p.m. before they vote on the city historic designation of the Petroleum Building.