Best Ruin

The Tower Press Building

Ivy obscures the windows and blankets the elegant brick of this beautiful former factory, where crickets chirp in broad daylight. Built in 1907 to produce women's coats and suits, home to a printing company for years, the Tower Press Building has been vacant since 1987. The dark tower, which used to hold a water tank, rises high above the nearby warehouses and police station west of downtown. Homeless people camp out in its boarded doorways, wedging their belongings behind pillars; some of them want to turn the building into a homeless center. Various schemes for rehabilitating the Tower Press Building have come and gone, but its days as a ruin may finally end soon; city council has floated a $2 million loan to help developers convert it into apartments.