The City of Owensboro has a signed agreement to purchase Gabe’s Tower for $360,000.
According to Nate Pagan, there are conditions to the agreement with current Gabe’s Tower owner Robert Zimmerman. Pagan said Zimmerman must provide the property to the City with a clean title, clearing up existing liens and he must also drop the lawsuit he has waged against the City and all related parties.
Zimmerman is suing the City as well as current and former employees in federal court. He alleges that Owensboro Police Department wrongfully arrested him twice in 2017 for trespassing at Gabe’s Tower, where he claimed to have a rental agreement with the hotel’s former owners. The City has maintained that it was not aware of that agreement. Zimmerman has agreed to drop the suit as a part of the purchase agreement.
Zimmerman bought the property from a development group out of Pennsylvania in 2017. He told media and city officials that he planned to turn the deteriorating hotel into low-income housing for military veterans, but has not been able to finance the project since the purchase. He turned down the City’s last proposal to purchase Gabe’s Tower for $300,000.
Pagan said once the City acquires the property, they will demolish the building. While the City does not have a current estimated cost for demolishing the 13-story hotel, Pagan said previous estimates put the demolition costs between $700,00 and $800,000.
“We don’t know what the long-term use will be, but we have a couple things in mind,” Pagan said. “At this point the priority is to acquire the property, finally, and demolish it.”
Pagan said the City won’t close on the tower until it receives verification that the lawsuits are dismissed and a title search on the property comes back clear.