Done deal: Nonprofit sells Danville's Bresee Tower

Done deal: Nonprofit sells Danville's Bresee Tower

DANVILLE — The Bresee Tower in downtown Danville has been sold in a deal that was finalized over the weekend, according to the previous owner.

Scottie Porter, executive director of the Alabama-based nonprofit organization Historic Restoration Inc., announced Monday that he no longer owns the vacant 13-story building he'd hoped to restore.

Abiding by the wishes of the new owners, Porter said he could not disclose who bought the building or what price it was sold for. He said the paperwork has been finalized and the sale agreement will be recorded soon.

“I am excited for the building, and I think it’s going to have a very bright and beautiful future in Danville,” said Porter, who still owns the limited liability corporation, Land Company of Danville, whose sole asset was the Bresee Tower.

The previous owners, the Kentucky-based Forcht Group, ended up with Bresee in 1993 when it purchased radio station WIAI, which was housed in the tower at the time. The company later sold the radio station, and in 2006 informed Bresee office tenants they were closing the building, but the corporation continued to lease the roof for antenna space and transferred the building to the Land Company.

The century-old landmark continued to deteriorate and gained lots of attention in 2007 when pieces of its terra cotta façade fell to sidewalks below. The city of Danville spent more than $21,000 about eight years ago on a pedestrian protection system to shield people from falling debris and has had a lien against the corporation to recoup that money since 2010.

Last year, city officials met with a Forcht Group attorney and discussed the city and taxpayers finally getting reimbursed for the covered pedestrian walkway.

But less than a month later, Forcht donated Land Company of Danville and its sole asset to Porter’s non-profit on Oct. 3. Porter has been involved in building restoration.

The donation was a surprise to city officials, who filed a lawsuit in late October against the Land Company, declaring Bresee an abandoned, dangerous building and asking the court to order Porter to either demolish it within 30 days, restore it within 60 days or turn it over to the city.

The lawsuit also alleged that the Land Company had failed or refused to adequately repair Bresee, threatening public health and safety, and asked the court to order the company to either fix the dangerous issues or demolish the structure within 15 days.

Porter responded with a statement that restoration of the dilapidated building could not be successfully completed with the city fighting him and the lawsuit left him unsure how to move forward with his plans.

On Monday, Porter said he expects the lawsuit to be dropped by the city.

“Because the Land Company of Danville no longer owns the Bresee Tower, I don’t foresee there being any reason for the lawsuit to continue,” he said.

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