Inside the Messy Demolition of the Univision Building
Published: November 20, 2013
Preservationists and activists would have liked to see an attempt to reuse the building instead of its complete demolition. Victor Salas, a member of the HDRC and a local interior architect, wasn’t present on the day of the 5-3 vote, but says the historical argument holds merit and that he would have cast his ballot in favor of the designation. (Other HDRC members were unavailable or declined to comment.) Salas says the structure was ripe for reuse.
“There was the possibility of incorporating the design into the new plan and making it work,” says Salas. His vision mirrors what Pemberton and some conservationists proposed. “I know there’s a big push for housing in downtown and I totally agree with that,” said Pemberton. “But whether or not the Univision building could have been incorporated into that project is really something that could have and should have been looked into.”
Other ideas, put forth by groups like Save KWEX, included repurposing the site as a museum for mass communications and culture, a tribute to the industry trailblazer.
As the building comes tumbling down, the City has suggested placing a monument to enshrine Univision’s legacy. But some activists say that’s too little too late. “That’s not enough. It’s really disappointing,” said Elizondo (who alluded to her own “secret plan” to memorialize the station.)
During a press conference November 14 in front of the City’s Development and Business Center, the Univision 8 and the grassroots groups they’re part of called for an investigation into the City’s “procedural failure” as well as into the Greystar deal. The activists are also requesting a meeting with Mayor Julián Castro and City Manger Sheryl Sculley to express their grievances. The groups want city staffers to admit they made “several errors.”
“Unfortunately, now the building is gone and the cultural significance of the site is gone, but surely we can fix the process to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” said Pemberton.
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