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Demolition starts on blighted hotel property in Longview

By Richard Yeakley
Dec. 3, 2013 at 10 p.m.


After months of talk, Longview residents Tuesday got their first glimpse of demolition at a blighted south-side property.

Crews with Kingwood-based Inland Environments tore down an old gas station that sat in front of the long-vacant Holiday Inn at Interstate 20 and Estes Parkway and continued to remove asbestos from the four-story hotel structure that will be next to go.

Daniel Gomez, Inland's project manager, said crews removed asbestos from the gas station Monday to clear way for Tuesday's action. Demolition of the larger structure may come as soon as next week, he said.

"He is separating the trash, the steel, the brick. That is what our demolition is," Gomez said while watching a crew member work. "We recycle all this stuff."

The property, which once was a highly trafficked hotel and restaurant in South Longview, has sat vacant for several years and had become an icon of a blighted I-20 corridor.

<a href="http://www.news-journal.com/news/local/longview-council-hears-proposals-from-i--task-force/article_f262e10c-79ae-521b-81ff-1e6eff9f2c2e.html" target="_blank">Early this year</a>, Mayor Jay Dean empaneled an I-20 Corridor Task Force to determine ways to draw revenue from the thousands of cars that pass the city on the highway each day. Demolition and redevelopment of the hotel property topped the task force's list of ways to improve the area.

The Longview Economic Development Corp. <a href="http://www.news-journal.com/news/local/ledco-approves-purchase-of-property-near-i--corridor/article_fa59abd4-e011-11e2-911c-001a4bcf887a.html" target="_blank">agreed this summer</a> to spend about $1.8 million to buy the property and make it shovel-ready for new development. In September, the corporation's board of directors agreed to pay nearly $900,000 to Inland Environments to clear the property.

<a href="http://www.news-journal.com/news/local/ceremony-kicks-off-demolition-of-old-hotel-property-on-estes/article_06ed72b4-4bd2-11e3-b34f-001a4bcf887a.html" target="_blank">Earlier this month</a>, the board had a reclamation ceremony, with members taking swings at the building with sledgehammers to indicate the start of work.

Gomez said substantial demolition should be visible before Christmas and that much of the remainder of the project would be spent cleaning up the property.

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