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Substandard buildings around the Coastal Bend are being demolished

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Posted at 7:11 AM, Dec 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-14 08:11:59-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — People in Corpus Christi are seeing fewer run-down, vacant buildings.

KRIS 6 News noticed three vacant lots in the city and spoke with business owners near them about the impact. The places we looked at were located at 902 S. Staples, 5604 Leopard and 321 Waco street. These buildings were recently demolished.

Chuck Giffin is the owner of the Texas State Roofing Company located on Staples Street just across from where the Church used to be. He said the vacant building was an eyesore for the last four years he’s been here.

“It was dilapidated. It was falling apart, there was no roof, there was no floor, the walls were crumbling," said Giffin. He said the owner was not taking care of the area, and if code enforcement would have checked on the building 20 - 30 years ago, it might still be in great condition.

“Instead it’s just a piece of vacant land and it has no value other than the land value," said Giffin.

Corpus Christi Code Enforcement Manager Michael Gutierrez said the church located on Staples and Furman was demolished following complaints.

“We get that complaint from the citizens, we go out there, we investigate and once our code officers deem that as a substandard building, then we start the process," said Gutierrez.

Gutierrez said it's a lengthy process; here’s how it works:

After getting complaints, code enforcement gets in touch with the property owner to make improvements. But if that doesn’t happen, it can be deemed substandard by the building standards board. They will then determine whether to demolish or repair it, and that means consequences for the owner.

“So we want the owner to go ahead and go through with that, you know, if they don’t, that’s when the city steps in and we demolish, and then we put a lien on the property," said Gutierrez.

The building on Waco Street was heavily damaged by a fire on October 31 after it was put out. And, under a new city ordinance, the vacant building was deemed an emergency demolition.

“That one gives actually the owner a less amount of time to get in and demolish it because it is deemed a health and safety issue," said Gutierrez.

With fewer run-down buildings to look at, Giffin says he loves working in the area.

“It’s a good part of town. We deal with some things that we don’t want to deal with. But, the convinces and location closest to the water is special to me," said Giffin.

After a building is demolished, Gutierrez said it's up to the property owner whether they want to sell the vacant land or rebuild.