Dallas is launching a crackdown on the owners of dangerous vacant buildings downtown, NBC 5 reported.
City officials have identified 35 empty buildings in the central business district as firetraps.
"Above six floors some of these old buildings don't have the ability to run fire hose up through there. So it gets very cumbersome and frankly dangerous for our firefighters to have to go in there and do it," said John Crawford of the Downtown Dallas Association.
City hall officials say the current owners demanded $20 million to sell The Grand Hotel, but the building is on the tax roll for only $1,000.
"It's not helping downtown, it's not helping the taxpayers," Crawford said.
On Wednesday city council approved a plan to inventory vacant buildings, crackdown on code violations with more aggressive inspections, and demand re-appraisals of their true value.
"This is about bringing buildings up to code, making sure that their safe, making sure their in a condition which a builder or a leasee might be interested in leasing or purchasing the building," said Council Member Angela Hunt.
Ten buildings have been inspected already and two dozen more were identified that need inspection.
"When you have these vacant buildings, it takes away from the progress that's already been made downtown and it kind of deters consumers from coming down here," Crawford said.
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