What’s next for a building that was saved from demolition by community members and leaders on the city’s West Side? The Basila Frocks Building holds great value and history of the community, but remains empty and rundown.
“A loss of this building, as was proposed during the demolition, would have been a critical loss to the West Side in terms of losing that culture and history,” Ramiro González said.
González is the CEO of the Westside Development Corporation, current owners of the Basila Frocks Building.
González said engineers deemed the building’s foundation as solid as its history.
“There’s people around the West Side who remember having dances and quinceañeras up on the second floor,” González said. As you can see from some of the signage, there were wrestling matches here. Even contractors we’re talking with, remember being musicians and playing here at times.”
The Westside Development Corporation now wants to help create new memories for small business owners on the West Side.
“The idea is how do we bring economic activity back to this part of the West Side and help support all the small businesses that are starting to be generated in the area,” González said.
The redevelopment will also depend on finding the right partnership with a developer.
“This isn’t a project just for any developer,” González said. “This is going to be your urban infill developer who understands historic structures, retrofitting, redevelopment and readapting.”
González said the first step is getting a strong and qualified group of candidates based on if their vision aligns with that of the corporation and the surrounding community.
“We’re not asking for proposals. We’re not asking for numbers on the project as of yet,” González said. “We’re asking who you are and what you have done and what makes you a good fit for a project like this. So, what other projects have you done? What is your vision of potential for the community and why are you interested in this?”