Owner gets TRO to stop city demolition of 100-year-old building

David Yates Jan. 16, 2008, 12:49pm

A temporary restraining order has stopped the city of Beaumont from demolishing what one man is calling an "historical building."

David Brian Austin claims he is working as quickly as he can to bring the building up to code, but an impatient city refuses to stall the bulldozers.

Hoping to save the 100-year-old building at 268 Pearl St. in downtown Beaumont, Austin filed an application for a temporary and permanent injunction against the city in the Jefferson County District Court on Jan. 15. That same day Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd Judicial District, approved a temporary restraining order.

"This building is over a century old; was built by one of Beaumont's prominent citizens in the early part of its history; and has historical value, which, if the Building is rendered compliant with relevant municipal safety codes, will benefit both Plaintiff and Defendant," the suit said.

Austin claims he has been in touch with the Texas Historical Society, which informed him that the property "once suitably restored, may be eligible for registry in the state's register of historic buildings.

In his suit, Austin says he has worked to bring the building up to code but needs more time.

"Plaintiff needs a maximum of 180 days to complete the required work; and, in order to further protect Defendant's right to ensure that buildings within its jurisdiction do not pose a hazard to the public health and safety, Plaintiff is willing to abide by a strict schedule of completion of the various stages of work required," the suit said.

Austin attached a proposed schedule for the completion of his building to the suit.

"This property�is unique," the suit said. "If the Property is destroyed, then an historical building will be irretrievably lost. In order to forestall this unnecessary loss, Plaintiff has come to this court for succor.

"The order for demolition of the property has been issued. Unless the city of Beaumont�is immediately enjoined and restrained, Defendant may destroy the Property at any time."

Once a hearing is scheduled, Austin will ask Judge Floyd to sign a permanent injunction, which would stop the city of demolishing the building.

Austin is represented by attorney Michael Lindsay of the Lindsay Morgan law firm.

Case No. E181-018

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