Downtown building set for demolition
by Sam Matthews
Dec 13, 2012 | 4980 views | 3 3 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Coming down
The building on the corner of 11th Street and Holly Drive has a fence around it on Tuesday, Dec. 11. The building will be torn down beginning on Monday, Dec. 17.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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The Levand Building at the northeast corner of 11th Street and Holly Drive — a Tracy landmark for nearly a century — is entering its final days.

Demolition of the vacant building, which consists of four structures tied into one complex on seven parcels of land, will begin Monday, Dec. 17.

The building — which most recently was home to the Tracy Mini Mall and has housed auto dealerships, an auto parts store, a furniture store and other businesses since it was constructed in 1914 — is being torn down for safety reasons, according to Ana Contreras, Tracy’s preservation manager.

The building, vacant since May 2011, contains a number of structural and electrical defects, Contreras said.

Decaying roof trusses are a special safety concern, and over the years, several additions were made to the original building and spaces remodeled, she reported.

After the city issued an order to vacate the property, the owner, the Levand family, contracted with Central Valley Demolition of Modesto to tear down the building and clear the site of rubble and foundations, Contreras said.

Contreras said it would cost more money than would be practical to fix the building and have it meet city code.

The Levand family could not be reached for comment.

Last week, the demolition firm’s owner, Ronald Rake, and employee Matt Heath surveyed the exterior and interior of the complex. A temporary fence has been placed around the building in preparation for the start of demolition.

Rake said it should take two days to bring down the structures — most have brick exterior walls — and two weeks to clear the site.

The project could take longer to complete if any petroleum tanks are found under the building or parking lot.

Despite physical defects, the building — originally known as the West Side Garage — with its Spanish revival façade and long history is listed in the “Excellent” category of a 1978 survey of historically significant structures in Tracy.

Because of its location at a major intersection in downtown Tracy, the property is viewed as a prime site for a new building, although no plans have been advanced.

According to city documents and Press files, the original part of the building, at the corner of 11th and Center Street (later Holly Drive), was constructed in 1914 by Tracy property developer Charles Slack for an auto dealership, known as the West Side Garage and Machine Shop, operated by the Dwelly Bros.

Louis A. “Jake” Levand came to Tracy in 1921 to operate the West Side Garage.

His auto dealership first sold Dodge cars and Reo trucks, but by 1932, Levand had become the Chevrolet and Buick dealer in Tracy, and the name was changed to Levand Chevrolet-Buick.

After Jake Levand died in 1955, his son, Louis A. “Bud” Levand operated the Chevrolet-Buick dealership. It was later operated as Levand Auto Center, a Dodge dealer. Louis Levand died last April.

After the Levand dealership was closed in the 1970s, the building was leased several years to another Dodge dealer and then was home to an auto parts store.

Later, after a period of vacancy, Biondi Bros. of Stockton operated an oak-furniture store in the front showroom of the building. This was followed by Tracy Mini Mall, which leased stalls inside the building to vendors.

The Levand Building is one of two original 11th Street auto dealership buildings scheduled for demolition. What was most recently home to Monument Auto Parts at the corner of 11th and F streets will be torn down some time within the next several months to make way for a McDonald’s restaurant.

• Contact Sam Matthews at 830-4234 or shm@tracypress.com



Demolition to close Holly Drive, 11th Street

Demolition of the building at the northeast corner of 11th Street and Holly Drive will require lane closures on both streets beginning Monday, Dec. 17.

On 11th Street, the westbound lane closest to the curb will be closed beginning at 7 a.m. Monday, Dec. 17, and will continue to be closed through Wednesday, Dec. 19.

On Holly Drive, all lanes in both directions will be closed between 11th and 12th streets from 7 to 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 17. Traffic will be rerouted to Adam and 12th streets during that period. Times for the Holly Drive closures are subject to change.

Temporary signs directing traffic will be located on both streets.

Sidewalks along the to-be-demolished building on both 11th Street and Holly Drive will be closed while the structure is torn down and the site is cleared, which is expected to continue two weeks or longer.

Information: Code enforcement officer Ana Contreras, 831-6416
Comments
(3)
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newtotracy
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December 14, 2012
sad to see a piece of history go down...and a formerly beautiful building destroyed...but safety is safety. the only mistake was in someone allowing it to fall into such decay. shame on the owners...

hope something good goes in rather than another faux Italian-villaesque mini mall. I'd like to see the personality retained by the downtown area. maybe Helm's could move in there! ;-)
backclover40
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December 14, 2012
11th and F street going to a Mc Donald's why? Don't we have enough garbage alley in this town?
Tracygirls
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December 13, 2012
Good-bye BLIGHT! It's about time.


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