STOCKTON (CBS13) — Stockton is trying to sell three run-down hotels that have sat vacant for years in a part of downtown where there are about as many vacant buildings as businesses.

The city is hoping bidders will prioritize potential over a renovation price tag sure to be in the millions.

Anyone driving or walking by that stretch of downtown Stockton is probably tired of a trio of blighted buildings now up for sale.

“If they would fix it up, this would look beautiful,” said resident Adolf Wyrick.

They are The Commercial, The Main, and The Saint Leo. All three were condemned years ago.

When a preservation society’s lawsuit kept the city from tearing the century-old buildings down, they’ve instead sat vacant for the last 15 years.

“The roofs leak, the water has penetrated all throughout the buildings, there’s terrible mold problems,” said Mahala Burns with developer Cort Companies.

Micah Runner, the city’s director of economic development, says that while they may not be in the best shape, the city is ready to test the market on these buildings.

“These are properties that are not in the best shape,” he said. “We’re basically going to the private market, the development community to see what kind of interest there is.”

Burns says it’s a tough sell. The cost of renovating the buildings will far exceed the potential profits.

“Way more,” she said. “If it’s a labor of love, or if you can get really great tax credits, you can do it. But otherwise, it’s not going to happen.”

She’s pointed out Stockton’s past efforts to sell the hotels were unsuccessful. Years ago, she says the city offered a subsidy to potential buyers, then the properties were listed for $1 apiece. Now, the city’s trying to sell them at market value.

Either way, Burns hopes the latest efforts will lead to some kind of action.

“If there’s no takers, we’re not gonna sit on this egg forever,” she said.

She says it’s time to either fix them up, or, if there aren’t any takes, tear them down. As she put it, 15 years of staring at the buildings is long enough.

The City of Stockton is hosting a tour of the hotels for potential buyers on June 10. City leaders hope someone will be interested in rehabbing the buildings for residential or commercial use.

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