Amarillo, TX - The Amarillo Economic Development Corporation is trying to prevent area taxpayer dollars from going to waste by fighting back and filing a lawsuit against an Amarillo contractor.
Commercial Industrial Builders, or CIB, was the contractor for the old Zarges building east of town. Now, new concerns over that building's possible unstable foundation have sparked disagreement over who's going to pay for the repairs.
Left empty more than a year ago when Zarges moved out, the 68,000 square foot building has been vacant ever since.
"At one point we looked at relocating Coca-Cola to that facility," said President and CEO of AEDC Buzz David. "As we started the design process, the structural engineers noted some concerns on the foundation."
As soon as those concerns were discovered, the AEDC yanked the space off the market.
"Knowing there are foundation issues, those have to be repaired before we allow somebody to go back inside and occupy that building," added David.
Officials don't consider the building 'unsafe', they're not worried about the structure actually collapsing to the ground. But because of the structural deficiencies in the foundation they're more worried about what's called "wind lift" or the building actually blowing over. According to David, that's unlikely to happen but it's still cause for concern.
The AEDC has decided to start repairs immediately, a $1.6 million cost it hopes to pass along to CIB.
"It's not a cost we believe that we should bear," said David. "We believe that the contractor and whoever they were involved with, their engineers should bear that cost and that's what the lawsuit it about."
Unless that money is recovered through the legal process, taxpayers could be left to foot the bill for a problem not even the AEDC saw coming.
"If we're going to spend additional tax dollars, sales tax dollars, then we want to recover it from those who are at fault," said David.
NewsChannel 10 reached out to CIB Friday for comment, but we were told they wouldn't be back in the office until Monday.