The city of Owensboro’s 3 p.m. deadline on Thursday came and went with no takers willing to save Gabe’s Tower.
City Manager Nate Pagan said the city had one private showing during the period leading up to the final day. However, it did not lead to any further interest.
“It’s not surprising,” said Pagan about not having any bid proposals. “We didn’t expect any proposals necessarily. Just from what we’ve seen in evaluations that have been done in the past, it would be very, very expensive and very difficult to reuse that facility in any capacity.”
City officials had originally set Nov. 7 as the proposal deadline but then extended it to Nov. 21 “for the acquisition and total rehabilitation of the former Gabe's Tower."
Mayor Tom Watson also said he wasn’t surprised that no developers wanted to invest in the 13-story, silo-shaped building at 1926 Triplett St. that was opened in 1963.
“There’s nothing going on around that area to excite anybody, I don’t think,” Watson said.
The city will now likely shift its attention to demolishing the building and then determining the future of the site itself.
At the Nov. 12 City Commission work session, Assistant City Manager Lelan Hancock said it would take “roughly $600,000” to raze Gabe’s Tower, according to the latest estimate.
Pagan said the city has been setting aside funds on the chance that demolition would eventually take place, but that an environmental assessment will have to be done first.
“It’s basically the initiation of the demo process,” Pagan said. “… We would let professional demo contractors suggest recommended ways it should be demolished instead of us dictating the particular method.”
Gabe’s Tower has been empty since 2005 and has gone through multiple private owners with restoration plans that have never materialized.
Instead, the 56-year-old Gabe’s Tower has now become one of the city’s most blighted buildings.
But after years of trying to acquire Gabe’s Tower, the city took ownership of it on Sept. 5. It purchased the building for $360,000 from Bob Zimmerman, who had owned it since 2017.
Much of the city’s latest discussion has been moving the downtown bus transit system station at 430 Allen St. to the Gabe’s Tower spot.
Watson called the current transit station’s location “an unsafe situation” because of the buses coming and going in a congested, high-traffic area.
However, Pagan said no determination has been made on whether the bus station would be relocated to the current Gabe’s Tower spot.
“That’s just one option we’ll evaluate,” Pagan said.
Don Wilkins, email@example.com, 270-691-7299