Demolition work begins at Verizon building

DOWNEY - After years of vacancy, demolition has begun on the Verizon complex, the hollowed, two-story office building on Second Street, which is being razed this summer to accommodate a new six-story, 50-unit housing development next fall.During a special demolition ceremony last Thursday, members of the City Council heralded the redevelopment project as an exciting addition to the city's emerging downtown. Sledgehammers in hand, one by one, all five council members hammered into the Verizon facility, initiating the demolition process, which is expected to take approximately 35-45 days. In the presence of more than a dozen city officials and community leaders, Mayor Luis Marquez praised the demolition as a significant milestone in the redevelopment process. "This is an exciting time for Downey and all our residents," Marquez said. "The Gateway project is under construction right now, Porto's is here already...a quality housing project is a major step forward for the whole downtown revitalization." Marquez ensures residents that the new 50-unit affordable housing complex, known as The View, will be kept to the highest standards upon completion. After seeing various projects managed by National Community Renaissance, Marquez is confident that the nonprofit redevelopment agency will bring a strong management component to the new residential development. "Any good project is dependent on how it's managed," said Marquez who believes the new units will ultimately bring more foot traffic into the downtown. "All data we've seen shows that for any city to have a successful downtown, it requires good housing and neighborhoods around ‚àí it adds value to the area." Once completed, the $20 million housing complex will feature 35 two-bedroom units measuring between 800-850 sq. ft. and 15 1,000-sq. ft., three-bedroom units. The View will also include a 1,500-sq. ft. community room for residents, a second-level courtyard, and rooftop garden, as well as self-contained parking. Each unit will also have a private patio. Vacant for more than 10 years, the Verizon building, located at 8314 Second Street, will be demolished by American Wrecking, Inc. for $218,707. The company will also dispose of hazardous materials while diverting and recycling building materials. According to city officials, Second Street will be shutdown to make way for a wrecking ball that will knockdown the Verizon building, which was constructed entirely of reinforced steel concrete in 1951 for the Associated Telephone Company. In 2008, the city used redevelopment funds to purchase the Verizon facility for $3.1 million. Construction of The View will begin in September 2012 after the city acquires additional redevelopment funds. Marquez acknowledged the sluggish timeline, but nonetheless, ensured that the new apartment complex will only add to the success of the new businesses emerging in the downtown district. "The city is excited about the revitalization," said Marquez. "We're very fortune that despite the tough economic times, we can bring quality projects like this to our city."

********** Published: July 28, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 15