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Tucson historic building faces demolition

Posted at 10:13 PM, Jan 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-03 13:03:07-05

For many driving down North Main Avenue - the Beau Brummel Social Club is an eyesore in the Dunbar neighborhood. 

But the building that sits at 1148 North Main Avenue has history to it.

Before becoming a social club, it was a drive-in restaurant, "Duke's Diner." 

Tucson City Councilman, Paul Durham says, "It has a long history, a long African American history in Tucson." 

The Social club was formed nearly eight decades ago in the 1940's by a group of African American men, including entertainers and athletes who were refused entrance to all white places. 

Many of the men were baseball players with the Cleveland Indians. 

"This location became the place for the African American players on the team to eat their meals and socialize," says Durham.

The club was seen on the big screen during Martin Scorsese Academy award-winning movie, "Alice doesn't live here anymore." 

Until this November - many enjoyed a drink and music, but after the social club stopped using the location, the owner wants to demolish the building.

Durham says it should be sold. "We should let the future owner decide whether or not to preserve the building or not."

In a statement to KGUN 9, Ward 6 Councilor, Steve Kozachik said:

The building has a significant story to tell. Perhaps the owner can find a way to honor that if he does take it down. But, it has been sitting there in disuse and falling apart for years. Where have these people been who now, today want him to save it? Simply put, the City has no legal basis with which to force the owner to invest his own money to preserve it. Others may offer theirs but we cannot with taxpayer dollars.

Durham says, "The ideal buyer will be preservation-minded buyer who wants to restore the building and incorporate it into the development of the property."

No word yet if there have been any offers on the property or when the building will be torn down.