Heritage Tower awarded landmark status

The 84-year-old Heritage Tower is being converted into a mix of 36 apartment homes for residents 55 or older and at least 2,500 square feet of commercial, retail and office space. Renovations that will begin next month will include 23 new windows to the building’s east side (not seen).

Heritage Tower, a six-story downtown Longview structure built in the city’s oil-boom heights, is officially a local historic landmark.

The Historic Preservation Commission of the city of Longview unanimously designated the landmark distinction on the 84-year-old building Tuesday during its monthly meeting.

Four Corners Development is converting Heritage Tower — originally known as the McWilliams Furniture Co. Building — into a mix of 36 apartment homes for senior residents 55 or older and at least 2,500 square feet of commercial, retail and office space, said Michael Fogel, director of development for Four Corners’ Texas Region.

Construction should begin in about 30 to 60 days and will take 18 months to complete, Fogel said. The development likely will begin accepting applications for apartment homes until closer to 90 days before construction ends, he said.

Commissioners also granted a Certificate of Appropriateness permit that allows a sign to be placed upon the 66-year-old Alton Plaza at the Petroleum Building, another local historic landmark downtown.

Saigebrook Development of Austin is reconstructing the Petroleum Building into more than 45 apartment homes using federal and state tax credits and a $600,000 municipal loan from the city.

The nearly 3-foot-tall, 13-foot-wide sign that will read “Alton Plaza I” will be placed on the Whaley Street side of the Petroleum Building, said Earl Kincaide with Saigebrook Development.

“We’re trying to keep the Fredonia Street side more of a secondary entrance,” Kincaide said.

Local historic landmarks are recognized for their significance with respect to the history, events, culture, economy, social fabric, ethnicity, architecture, archaeology or paleontology of Longview, the state or the nation, according to the city. They are protected by city ordinances, and a Certificate of Appropriateness must be obtained before any work can begin on any designated landmark or any property located within a historic overlay district.

The city has seven local historic landmarks, including the Train Depot, the Rucker-Campbell House, the former Longview Municipal Building that now serves as Central Fire Station, the Idylwood Fire Station and the Everett Building.

Jimmy Daniell Isaac covers the city of Longview and Gregg County. Follow him on Twitter: @jimmyisaaclives.