GEDC to sell downtown property


The Gonzales Economic Development Corporation (GEDC) met Monday evening to discuss — amongst a few agenda items — insuring their downtown flag pole and a vacant building that they own. That led to a short discussion on their aborted plans for the real property located at 513 St. George St. that was originally slated to be the location of the group's small business incubator facility.

The members had previously decided to divest from the property while expressing regret that the original plans did not meet their goals. However, it was noted that it was in the best interest of the community to have the property renovated, and thus a call for bids was placed in order to find a new owner.

At their March 29 meeting, a single bid was unsealed in the amount of $34,000. It was revealed that the bidders, Andrew and Racshel Brunken, intend to establish a residential and commercial renovation business in the space, itself needing a good bit of restoration. It was stated that the new business would support Gonzales and those living within a 45-mile radius of here.

A small boutique is also planned by the potential owners to occupy a smaller portion of the building and would focus on unique home furnishings.

The owner's plan, according to GEDC meeting minutes, calls for a full restoration of the building exterior to its original appearance. An abatement process to remove asbestos flooring will need to be completed before interior renovations are to begin. Previously, GEDC had gutted the interior in preparation for their since-abandoned renovations.

The building has a listed market value of $63,310 according to the Gonzales County Appraisal District's website. According to GEDC President and CEO Genora Young, the property was purchased by the board in 2014 for $84,000 and a Jan. 22 appraisal by the board had the building's value at $49,000. She did note that the property was purchased by board members who are no longer active on GEDC and the deal pre-dates her involvement.

The board decided to table the discussion on insuring the building until a closing date on the property is made. In the meantime, the decision to allow the sale must be approved at the next Gonzales city council meeting.

Board members did however agree to fund an insurance policy for the 130-foot flag pole at Texas Heroes Square. Young said that it had been brought to her attention that the pole did not have coverage in the event of property damage. She noted that since the pole is located on city property, the pole itself is now city property.

Interim City Manager Tim Patek was in attendance, and stated that he just wanted to make sure that is was insured by somebody.

It was agreed that GEDC would let the City of Gonzales purchase liability insurance on the pole with GEDC reimbursing the city for the cost.

It was noted by Young that the insurance would cover any damage done by the pole only and would not cover natural wear and tear of the flags flown. She said that GEDC has purchased two flags each of the Come and Take It, United States, and Texas flags. The flags cost $2,600 each and so far they have had to retire only a Come and Take It flag, since it is the one flown most often.

The flag pole was erected in 2016 as a tourism beacon for the downtown area.