After years of uncertainty, vacancy, and unfulfilled possibilities of revitalization, the historic G.J. Sutton building is in the process of demolition.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 2944 in June, which authorized the sale of the state-owned property to a private developer. Once the site is demolished and cleared by Veit Demolition, it will pave the way for new development.

The G.J. Sutton complex on 321 Center Street is a 112,000 square feet landmark on the East Side named for Garlington Jerome Sutton, the first black official from San Antonio elected to the Texas House of Representatives. The State acquired the complex, which previously housed a machine and supply company served by rail, in 1975 and used it for office space until 2013. The building has since been vacant.

The demolition has not been without controversy. Few conservationists knew of the razing until after it began, though some said they would have tried to stop it. That effort would have been for naught, Ximena Copa-Wiggins, spokeswoman for the Office of Historic Preservation said, because the state owns the property, there was little anyone could do to stop the demolition.

No matter what is built in its place, the G.J. Sutton name will remain on the building per the language in the bill.

Workers dismantle the Sutton Building as water is continually sprayed to reduce possible fire risks. Credit: Scott Ball / Rivard Report Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Scott Ball is San Antonio Report's photo editor and grew up in San Antonio.