Demolishing Historic Downtown Dothan Building

The Downtown Redevelopment Authority wants to move forward with removing buildings that they say cannot be sold or restored.

The authority wants to demolish the old Seact Building and replace it with trees, green space and parking for future businesses.

To do so they need the approval of the Historic Preservation Commission and Thursday ran into some opposition.

Historic Preservation Commission Ed Vaughn said, "Putting a parking space right next to downtown is not necessarily going to bring people to the business. You got to have something unique to bring them downtown and that is something we have never had because nobody has had the vision to see the unique type of things that could bring people downtown."

Jimmy Grant, chairman of the redevelopment authority says businesses are not interested in the building and the lack of parking around it.

"If we let that thing sit there for 25 more years, waiting on you to decide what you are going to do with it, it's going to fall down anyway," said Grant to Commission.

The DDRA also asked the commission to bring down the old city jail next to the Opera House on North Saint Andrews Street.

The 55 year old building currently houses the downtown group and other agencies.

In the end, the preservation commission voted in favor of demolition and not preservation for the old Seact Building and former jail.

The preservation commission had only six members show up for the vote Thursday night, which is the minimum number they can have to make any decisions.

Only one member of the commission voted against bringing the buildings down.

The agencies that are currently working in the bottom floor of the old jail building will soon be looking for new places to work.

The DDRA has said they would like to purchase a building downtown to move them in to.

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