Port Allen leaders are hoping they can dissuade the owner of the 89-year-old D’Agostino building, located at 110 N. Jefferson Ave, from tearing the dilapidated structure down. At least one councilman would like to see the building become the cornerstone of the revitalization of the city’s downtown area.

PORT ALLEN — The future for the nearly 90-year-old, dilapidated D'Agostino building that once served as the cornerstone of downtown business doesn't have to look so bleak, said the executive director of a historic preservation organization. 

Brian Davis, head of the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation, on Wednesday informed city leaders that his statewide, nonprofit organization could likely help restore the building, which is on the verge of demolition. That's good news to city leaders and residents who don't want to see the building torn down by its owner. 

"This is an informational opportunity," Councilman Garry Hubble told the council before Davis' presentation Wednesday night. "I was just really impressed with what he had to offer."  

Outcry to save the building sparked after the city issued a demolition permit to its current owner last month. 

The two-story building, commonly referred to as the D'Agostino building, is at 110 N. Jefferson Ave. A portion of the bricked structure stretches nearly a block down Court Street, where it intersects with Jefferson Avenue.

Erected in 1929, the building is named after the family that originally ran a hotel upstairs and a restaurant on the first floor.

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Throughout the years the building has been home to various short-lived commercial businesses, including a clothing store and a bakery. But it's stayed mostly vacant for the past 20 years, Genre said.

The now boarded structure has been in a steady decline due to massive roof leaks.

City officials have previously said their options are limited in terms of trying to intervene and save the building using public funds, something state law forbids for privately-owned properties. 

Davis described his organization as a real estate program for endangered historic buildings. The LTHP purchases blighted historic properties and then flips them to sale with protective covenants on the open market once they're in better condition. Some of the rehab work is funded through grants, but the organization mostly uses a revolving pool of funds it accumulates through the sale of other rehabbed properties it spearheaded. 

"This is an easy save," Davis said about the D'Agostino building. "It's such a great landmark, especially being in that commercial corridor. It's definitely worth looking into." 

"I'd sure like to see something productive done to that building," Councilwoman Ray Helen Lawrence said. 

City Coordinator Rose Roche also revealed she is still in talks with the building's owner and that an application for historical designation has been submitted to the state's tourism department. Roche also said there could be some historical tax credits in play that could help with rehabilitation work on the structure.  

Follow Terry Jones on Twitter, @tjonesreporter.