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New Owner Of The Former Bowie Elementary School In Downtown Bryan

The former Bowie elementary school in downtown Bryan, which was slated for demolition two months ago, is being saved.

The property at Sims and 26th was sold Wednesday to the owners of two local companies.

Gessner Engineering will be moving a combined 85 employees from two existing locations after the restoration is completed on the structure that was built in 1918 but has been closed the last 14 years.

Johanna Gessner says the goal is to keep as much of the exterior, and a timetable has not been set to restore the interior.

The former owner, who attempted to convert the building into apartments, saw the structure condemned by the Bryan building and standards commission. While the former owner appealed the condemnation order, city staff assisted the new owners in acquiring the property.

Click below for comments from Johanna Gessner, visiting with WTAW’s Bill Oliver.

Listen to “Former Bowie Elementary School is saved from demolition by new ownership” on Spreaker.

News release from Gessner Engineering and GVBM LLC:

Bowie Elementary School, formerly in service with Bryan ISD is being given another opportunity to benefit the community.

The school was constructed in 1918 and has been vacant for many years. The iconic structure sits at the prominent location of Sims and 26th Street on a lot that covers almost a city block.

After sitting for fourteen years without any progress on the intended development, the Building and Standards condemned the building on May 20th with an option to appeal. With the assistance of Kevin Russell, the COB Economic Development Director and his team, they were able to help the potential new owners through the appeal process.

The historic building was purchased July 31, 2019 by Johanna and Thomas Gessner and GVBM LLC. The building has sat idle for fourteen years without any progress made on the intended restoration. The intended Bowie School renovation will be home to Gessner Engineering and other businesses. The project will preserve as many historical characteristics as possible while updating the interior of the building into modern offices with additional commercial rental space. The projected impact of 85 employees will benefit downtown and bring a Bryan landmark back to life.

A structural engineer, Thomas Gessner commented “Initial assessments of the structure indicate rehabilitation is a possibility but we will not know, conclusively, until after the abatement. We are thrilled to purchase, restore, and return the Bowie School to a serviceable structure.”

The joint venture between Gessner’s and GVBM LLC initially began as a search for vacant land. After months of looking for the ideal property a suggestion from Engel & Völkers Bryan College Station owner broker Edward Allison led to the Bowie School. Engel & Völkers Bryan College Station is located in Downtown Bryan and specializes in distinctive properties, both residential and commercial. “The team at Engel & Völkers was instrumental in locating and facilitating the purchase of the Bowie School.” said new owners Gessner and GVBM LLC.

During the negotiation process on May 20, 2019 the building was condemned by the City of Bryan Building and Standards Department due to the deteriorating condition of the school and the lack of progress on the intended redevelopment. The combined efforts of the Bryan Economic Development Team, city attorneys, and the brokerage team made the transaction possible. “The purchase of the Bowie School gives us the opportunity to contribute to the redevelopment of Historic Downtown Bryan and hopefully save and repurpose an integral part of Bryan’s history.”

The new owners are looking forward to working with our great City Staff and Mayor Nelson and the Bryan City Council to see this project come to fruition.

Bryan’s former Bowie elementary school, July 10 2019.

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Posted by on Jul 31 2019. Filed under Featured Stories, Local News for Newsletter, News.
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