Restoration Of Burnt Building Showcases Focus On Brawley Downtown
By Chris Furguson
According to the City of Brawley, a Brawley building that was destroyed during the 2012-2013 arson spree has been purchased and will be restored to it’s former glory. The news came during the annual Brawley Mayor’s Breakfast on February 24, 2017.
The building, located on the north west corner of the intersection of 8th Avenue and G Street east of the railroad tracks, had once been the location of a series of bars and a restaurant. The facility had long been abandoned prior to the act of arson seen in 2012.
According to city manager Rosanna Moore, contractor William Haendiges purchased the property. While exact plans for the building are unknown at the present time, Mayor Sam Couchman said that the building would be rebuilt.
“[Haendiges] has a reputation for restoring buildings to their former status,” said Couchman. “As a history buff, that’s important to me.”
This news came as the city was also pondering an incentive program, also announced through the Mayor’s speech on Friday, for businesses willing to build and open within the downtown area of the city.
The building, which contained the former Top Hat cocktail bar and Mona’s restaurant, was set ablaze by a group of Brawley teens as part of their arson campaign in the winter of 2012 through the spring of 2013.
The arson spree, which was done to conceal evidence of breaking and entering, also claimed the former Superior Furniture store (which is now the Inferno Restaurant) and A-Plus Furniture along with several other damaged buildings.
The alleged perpetrators were caught soon after the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms sent a requested investigation unit to the city. Due to the perpetrators ages, however, their criminal cases and records are sealed from public dissemination
The same owner also purchased another building, a former Firestone tire location, with the same goal of restoration rather than replacement.
Couchman also announced that the former Rock Café would become an Irish-style tavern. The new tavern and restaurant, which will be called “Paddy’s At The Rock” and owned by Ryan Brandt.
Brandt had been the owner of the “Paddy’s XXI Amendment” tavern that was part of the Planters Hotel that burned in 2007. The building itself once hosted the popular Rock Cafe before their lease expired in December 2015.
These upcoming improvements will join several others, including the current “Raspados Avenue” on the North plaza area, as Brawley’s downtown sector continues to expand.