Seal the deal and break out the sledgehammer.
On Thursday local businessman John Wilson closed the deal to buy the Rooms 4 Rent Motel and set into motion plans to demolish it and provide the bare lot to the City of Sealy to use for the next five years.
“I just want to beautify Sealy and get rid of these eyesores,” Wilson said after posing for a photo with city officials and the former owner, Ben Barlass, after the sale was closed.
Wilson did a similar project after buying a dilapidated property next to the Donut Palace. He also owns the Sealy Professional Building.
“Sealy has a lot of potential to become another Katy in time and getting rid of these old buildings is a good way to do that,” Wilson said.
Built in 1965 and later added onto, the motel first served as a nursing home. Under Barless’s ownership the last nine years it became affordable housing for people at or near homelessness. Deemed by the city as a “substandard, blighted, and nuisance structure,” the motel became the location of many police calls and crime reports.
Wilson purchased the property for $508,000. The Sealy Economic Development Corporation is contributing up to $200,000 for asbestos abatement of the building. City staff will provide in-kind demolition services to tear down and remove the building, pad, and paved parking lot until all that remains is a bare lot.
“We are removing everything; we’re taking it down to the dirt,” Sealy Main Street Director Kimbra Hill said at a Sept. 15 city council meeting.
In exchange for the help from the city, Wilson is giving the city use of the lot for five years. Sealy EDC Director Robert Worley said Wilson could sell the property prior to that but the buyer would first have to be approved by the EDC and the city council.
Barless said all 65 residents have been relocated, many of them to his facility in Hempstead.
The asbestos abatement is scheduled to begin in December with demolition following in January.