Changes are planned for the heart of downtown Tracy at the corner of 10th Street and Central Avenue.
The demolition of the 90-year-old building at 1000 N. Central Ave. is set for the first quarter of the year to make way for a new building and business, according to Reza Kazemi, who is working on the project with the building owner, Denise Hembree.
“We have lots of ideas, but nothing permanent,” he said in a telephone interview Wednesday morning. “It’s a prime location and it warrants a deep look. Want to make it a destination (business), draw crowds to the downtown.”
Kazemi said they had started coordinating the logistics of the demolition, which will require relocating crosswalks, shifting the flow of traffic and planning a precision removal of the condemned structure, which was once home to the Tredway’s stationery store.
Built in 1926, the building has been vacant since Oct. 31, 2011, when city code enforcement officials ordered Helm’s Ale House, the last tenant, to close its doors due to structural problems involving the roof. Owner Dave Helm eventually moved his restaurant four blocks south to the corner of Sixth Street and Central Avenue.
Two months ago , construction workers removed the weakened awning around the west and south sides of the building at the order of city officials.
“Been (an) eyesore for years and it’s time has come, and in 2017, we will hopefully see a nice building there,” Kazemi said.
To fill the space with a business that will be beneficial to the community and the property owners, Kazemi said he and Hembree were working closely with Barbara Harb, a management analyst in the city’s economic development department.
He said they had two options: build a shell building and find a tenant at a later date, or seek a tenant now and build to their specifications.
Hembree said Tuesday night that she envisioned a business that would enhance that corner of the downtown. She said the new building could be two or three stories with mixed retail and residential uses.
“We’re just in the process (of planning),” she said. “I’m very excited. I think it will be quite an addition to the downtown.”
Hembree, who inherited the building and Tredway’s store from her father in 1993 , said she would have liked to keep the old building intact, but repairing it to the city’s specifications would cost her more than tearing it down and starting over.
“I love Tredway’s and I love the building,” she said. “I wanted to save the building, but the city doesn’t seem to want that to happen.”
Code enforcement officer Jim Decker said Wednesday afternoon that the roof trusses were significantly damaged, which was why he ordered the building closed in 2011 as a matter of safety.
Before demolition, Hembree said she wanted to remove all the equipment that was left by past tenants. The building was split in 2003 and occupied by a Mexican market on the north side and, after Tredway’s closed, by a series of restaurants — Gigi’s Pizza, Hula Huts and finally Helm’s — on the south side.
Kazemi said demolishing the building would create a clean slate that would make anything possible for the property.
“We’re going to take a long and serious look at what is best for the city and the community,” he said.