SALINAS, Calif. (KION) A new lease on life for an old eyesore in downtown Salinas was announced on Wednesday.
The Dick Bruhn building is now under new ownership and surrounding businesses are happy to see change is coming soon.
The building has been left destroyed for nearly five years, just sitting there after flames engulfed most of the interior.
With no roof overhead and a crumbling exterior, the old building sits like a massive stain on your living room wall.
"It makes the downtown looks very depressing since nothing has been done to improve anything," said Yang Yangtse, the owner of Taste of Thai.
"It's been something that has held back the downtown… a big, vacant, ugly structure that is obviously neglected," said Kevin Dayton, the government affairs director at the Salinas City Center.
With Taylor Fresh Foods buying the building off the old owners this week, a new optimism is spreading among those who want to see it turned into something that can revitalize this section of downtown.
"One day, we want to see pedestrian traffic, bicycles, we want to see people live here," said Dayton.
And live here they could: early reports suggest the building will be turned into a mixed-use complex with residences up top and retail stores on the ground floor. It is likely the new owners will preserve the historic outer facade.
Under a new blight ordinance passed in March 2019, the City of Salinas began seeking receivership of the Dick Bruhn building last year after they say the previous owners did not start repairing the burn damage.
A court later sided with the city and declared the building a safety issue.
"It forced the developer to look at these properties and say am I going to fight the city with all the violations here or am I going to sell the building? And we believe that was the main factor that led to the end of this," said Dayton.
The nearby Taylor Fresh Foods building just down the street could serve as an example of what a new Dick Bruhn building could be like. It's a revitalization neighboring businesses are hoping to see.
"If they can bring some more retail or more shops, that'll bring more traffic to the downtown area," said Yangtse.
The downtown association says they are hoping to see more blighted properties get tackled by the city with that new ordinance, all in hopes of freeing up more room for new developments.
PREVIOUS ARTICLE: The old Dick Bruhn building in Downtown Salinas is getting a new lease in life after a big agriculture company decided to buy it.
Taylor Fresh Foods is looking to revitalize that building into a mixed-use complex.
KION’s Josh Kristianto speaks with the downtown association for what could potentially be built tonight at 10 and 11pm.