Vacant Plaza Hotel Attracts Crime

By: Rashi Vats Email
By: Rashi Vats Email

The deteriorating Plaza Hotel and vacant property around the tower is set for redevelopment, but for the past few months, it's been a crime magnet.

The abandoned 12-acre area on the corner of University Drive and Texas Avenue is a place where you'll find trash, graffiti, broken windows and crime.

"It's a big property, there are 12 acres. There have been constant calls for service like suspicious looking people or other things that our police have to respond to," said Bob Cowell, Director of Planning and Development for College Station.

He says city code requires the buildings to be secured, so workers have boarded up windows and doors, but it isn't enough for residents that live near the site of the eyesore like Texas A&M student Matthew Grepares.

"People go in there, people cook meth, people go do drugs in there. It's not a safe place to be," said Grepares.

"No one is in them. They are an attractor to people that just kind of want to hang out there. Especially when you have a 17-story tower. People just want to explore the 17-story tower," said Cowell.

Cowell has been working with the new owners of the property to add more security. If you visit the site you will now see security guards that constantly patrol the area. The new measures allocate city sources to places in need according to Cowell.

"Anytime we send a police officer or someone else to that area, that's another area that we are not patrolling. In effect, we are protecting an empty building. You much rather see it go to a productive, economic use," said Cowell.

Designs of the new development are not yet available because developers are waiting to get their rezoning request approved by the city which should happen in the next couple of months.

Construction is expected to begin this summer.

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