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Tire business expands, applies to demolish historic, decrepit building

By Melissa Crowe
Aug. 23, 2013 at 3:23 a.m.

A 105-year-old building, formerly a grocery, on North Wheeler Street in Victoria is scheduled to be demolished to make way for the expansion of Wholesale Tire Co. Because the building is considered historic, there is a 60-day moratorium on the demolition.

The growth of one Victoria business could mean the end of another.

With the Eagle Ford Shale increasing demand for tires and service, Wholesale Tire Co. jumped at the opportunity to expand.

Owners of the tire company at 502 N. Wheeler St. plan to raze the neighboring lot - home to the century-old J.H. McCabe Grocery - to make room for more inventory and work space.

Chad Koehl, general manager of the tire company, said the company closed on the neighboring lot about two weeks ago.

"The thing with that house, it's not a livable habitat," Koehl said. "The structural integrity is a danger in itself."

The company hired a Victoria contractor, David Clifton, to clear the lot.

Monica Leal of the Victoria Development Services Department said the demolition cannot be issued until Oct. 12. Because it is an historic structure - a building older than 50 years - city rules require a 60-day moratorium.

Jeff Wright, executive director of Victoria Preservation Inc., said the organization is aware of the plan to demolish the building.

Although he has not inspected the building, he said he has heard that it is collapsing in on itself.

"It's sad, but you can't save everything," Wright said. "It's a really cool building, and it's got a lot of history, but I don't know that it's going to be one that we're able to save."

The property was entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

Dorothy Smith, an owner of the tire business that has been locally owned and operated since 1971, said the company is gearing up for the expansion, having already increased employment to 12 personnel.

She said the additional space will allow trucks, tractor-trailers and other large vehicles to get in and out and worked on more easily.

Koehl said the initial thought was to incorporate the historic building into the company's plans, but after a thorough inspection, it realized it was a danger and too large an investment.

"We're just expanding to continue growing and to keep up with the customer demand," Koehl said. "When business grows, it grows."



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