1950s-era Longview building ‘back from the dead’

1950s-era Longview building ‘back from the dead’

LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Built in 1953 as a parking garage, an East Texas building was used as office space until it fell vacant years ago. Now, it is “back from the dead.”

The Petroleum Building in Longview has gone from eyesore to residence.

Four years ago, the city didn’t know what to do with the Petroleum Building, which was a magnet for transients and vandalism.

“The city of Longview has invested a lot of money in downtown, really over the last 20 years,” said Shawn Hara, the City of Longview’s public information officer. “Improving the overall look of downtown.”

But property owners came forward, and the city participated in the renovation by providing a $600,000 loan to help complete financing.

The building was converted to apartments.

Valencia Mathis was one of the first to move in last March.

“I love it. It’s been very nice. I learned that each floor is a different color,” she said.

Once considered an eyesore by citizens, some who wanted it torn down, it’s become a thriving apartment community.

Inside, it has spacious two-bedroom apartments.

The building includes a fitness room, a children’s play center, and even a theater.

“Everything is right around here. Within reach. Grocery store, everything. No excuse - it’s right around. I think it’s pretty full right now,” Mathis said.

It has done what the city wanted - draw residents.

“It’s a residential structure. And with that, you get residents, people that are not just working downtown but living downtown, and that can bring new life and energy to some of the other businesses that are there,” Hara said.

What was once an eyesore is now home for many.

“It’s a wonderful place,” Mathis said.

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