It’s not often that ro-ro cargo operations and historic preservation appear in the same sentence, but the expansion plans of Amports, one of the largest auto processors in North America, in Benicia, California, is pitting the company against the local city council over the proposed demolition of two buildings.
The buildings in question are two dilapidated edifices and nothing to look at, but they also happen to be the oldest industrial structures west of the Mississippi, hence the concern of preservationists.
Benicia, located on the upper San Francisco Bay, is one focus of Amports’ expansion plans in northern California. The company announced earlier this year the lease of a 108-acre site in Antioch, California, east of Benicia, that has access to a deep-water wharf. Ports in the San Francisco area have been looking to grow their auto import and export businesses in recent years.
Amports inherited the buildings in question years ago as part of a larger acquisition at the port. Back in March, Amports applied to raze the buildings and was initially backed up by the city.
It seems, though, the buildings have been reduced to near rubble over the years by fire, squatters, and vandalizing youths. When the city sent professionals to inspect the site earlier this year, they found they were “not safe under any circumstance,” and “in danger of “imminent collapse.” Even first responders should not be permitted into the area, they advised, and the buildings could be demolished in the interests of safety…
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