The Downtown Investment Authority passed a four-part resolution Tuesday to voice support for saving the Bostwick Building.
The resolution, offered by authority member Don Shea, urges the City Council to not issue a demolition permit for the building, not reward any Downtown landowner for committing demolition by neglect, urges the City use “all legal means” to acquire the building and asks the authority to be the disposition agent for rehabilitating the building.
“I think the City ought to do what it needs to do to save that building and set precedent,” Shea said.
Authority member Melody Bishop questioned the third part of the ordinance relating to acquiring the building, citing tight budgets, but Shea said if Council was interested in saving the building it “would find a way.”
The building, at 101 E. Bay St., is a former bank and commonly referred to as the “jaguar building.”
It was the first building restored after the Great Fire of 1901.
Karl Bostwick, one of the building’s owners, is the applicant for a demolition permit.
The City’s Historic Preservation Commission in late September denied that permit, which led to an appeal that will be heard by the Council Land Use and Zoning Committee. The appeal is not yet scheduled.
The commission is scheduled to meet today to determine the building’s historic designation and the appeal will be scheduled after that, said Council member Lori Boyer, who chairs the committee.
She attended Tuesday’s authority meeting and said while the authority does not have a plan in place and could not yet take control of Downtown issues, it could take stances.
“I am happy that the DIA is taking a proactive approach to whatever Downtown issue it is. I hope they engage and take opinions,” said Boyer.
Bostwick told the commission the cost associated with renovating the building is not economically feasible, according to a Daily Record story detailing the meeting.
The Bostwick Building is one of several issues of interest to authority members.
Though the authority does not yet have a CEO or master plan, it has the power to issue resolutions about Downtown issues and is the clearinghouse for Downtown-related economic incentive deals the City should strike with businesses.
Once its master and business plans are established, the authority will create criteria for deals and take action on Downtown issues.
Several members have said the Bostwick Building and another issue, Hemming Plaza, are time-sensitive.
Authority members also heard about Hemming Plaza, an educational session about Community Redevelopment Areas and a recap of the Georgia-Florida game.
Hemming Plaza has raised concern among some authority members.
Member Jim Bailey, publisher of the Daily Record, was asked to be an ex-officio member of a Council Hemming Plaza Ad Hoc Committee and report back to the authority.
“It is the center of our town,” said authority Chairman Donald Harris. “We have got to make it better.”
Before the full meeting, a subcommittee formed to determine criteria to hire the authority’s first CEO discussed information but it was not ready for Council review.
Shea, who leads the subcommittee, said 11 downtown agencies across the country are seeking CEOs.
He presented criteria from three cities for the subcommittee to review before meeting Monday to write the requirements and background it seeks in a CEO.
Those requirements must be approved by Council, which is why Shea wants to submit legislation by November.
The legislation then could be reviewed and potentially approved by year-end. If not, the legislation likely would not be approved until January, when Shea said he hoped the new CEO would be hired.
The authority’s next full meeting is Nov. 14.