Construction will begin this month on a $10.8 million public works building and warehouse for Galveston in a burgeoning part of Market Street, just a few blocks west of downtown.
Crews will demolish the Bersinger Building, 402 30th St., and an old utilities building, 2804 Market St., and construct two new structures, a 20,000 square-foot administration building and a 10,000 square-foot warehouse for storage, according to the city.
Construction will begin later this month and is expected to continue until September 2019, officials said.
It’s one of the larger projects stemming from federal disaster recovery money from Hurricane Ike in 2008 with $10.83 million awarded through the Community Development Block Grant program to help make public infrastructure more resilient to storm flooding. The city is paying for the project entirely through federal funds, a spokeswoman said.
The development, too, is in a section north of Broadway the city and other entities have had an eye on revitalizing, Mayor Jim Yarbrough said.
In recent years, new developments have spurred interest and investment in the area. Those include The Cedars at Carver Park at 29th and Ball streets, one of two mixed-income housing developments in the city. Also, a new restaurant and popular bar moved in near 27th and Market streets, just a few blocks away from where the public works building will be in an area now frequently referred to as West Market, or WeMa.
“It’s a city priority to strengthen the redevelopment north of Broadway,” Yarbrough said. “It’s an area of town that historically has not had a lot of city investment. But common sense and history shows if you bring a concentration of people to work in an area they need services — restaurants, a convenient store, a shoe shop. Businesses come in to meet that need.”
Other work is underway to revitalize the area, including putting in sidewalks and work renovating the old Falstaff Brewery, Yarbrough said. The public works building adds to the progress, he said.
“It’s not the cornerstone, but it’s a key piece of the puzzle,” Yarbrough said.
Once built, the city’s various public works departments, including streets, traffic, drainage, management services and utilities collection and distribution, will be moved to the administration facility, spokeswoman Jaree Fortin said. The warehouse will store equipment used by the public works departments, she said.
Both the Bersinger Building and the former utilities building were damaged during Hurricane Ike, but had deteriorated from neglect and aging. The city has been leasing space on Harborside Drive for public works offices and storage of equipment once housed in the utility building after the city deemed it structurally unsafe in 2016.
Putting the departments under one roof would also streamline city operations, officials said.
“This facility has been envisioned for a long time to help us continue to meet the needs of our community,” City Manager Brian Maxwell said.
“These departments work side by side daily in the field, combining them administratively under one roof will provide much needed efficiencies in operations.”
The city awarded bids to Lockwood, Andrews & Newman Inc. for design and JW Kelso Company Inc. for construction of the building and warehouse.
The city will break ground on the development Wednesday, officials said.