City looks at options for Gabe’s Tower after buying building


OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) A day after the city of Owensboro officially takes control of Gabe’s Tower, work begins on maintaining its current state, and deciding it’s future.

The city bought the building from owner Bob Zimmerman for $360,000.

City workers put up new fencing around the tower, as part of securing and maintaining the building. The building’s new owners are starting to sort out the old issue of this building’s future.

“I thought it might be a good idea. Wasn’t sure what they were going to do,” says Ronald Foreman of Owensboro.

“Since the city took it over, I’m sure something is going to be done,” adds Harry Kralik of Owensboro.

Mayor Tom Watson says the tower’s future is in flux and the city is looking at all options. Earlier this year, city officials said they planned to tear the building down. But Community Development Director Abby Shelton says they also plan to send requests for proposals to developers to see if the tower can be redeveloped. Some of those developers reached out two years ago when the city last tried to buy it.

“There were a few developers that reached out and said, ‘If and when you acquire the property, please let us know. We would be interested in some kind of partnership,'” Shelton recalled.

Shelton also says the city will try to get federal funding, but officials must go through a process to see if the building can be redeveloped before the money can be used for other options, including demolition.

“You have to go through an exhaustive process to see if a developer to come in at this point, and incentivize them in some shape or form to see if you can rehab the property and save the property,” she says.

“I think something could be done, but it depends on what it looks inside,” adds Kralik.

Zimmerman declined to go on camera today, but says much of the money the city paid him will go towards the mortgage. He also says while things did not turn out the way he had hoped for, he is glad the situation is over for him.

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(This story was originally published on September 6, 2019)

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