City Building Inspector Albert Vilches said he ordered the evacuation recently after a portion of the roof and ceiling collapsed.
He said temporary walls installed in the building stopped the total collapse of the ceiling. But for safety reasons, he said the entire structure needed to be abandoned until a structural engineer inspects the damage and determines what needs to be done to repair the building.
Vilches said Texas Workforce, which had occupied the north end of the building for many years, had moved out some time ago.
The building gained notoriety back in the 2004 when the Bee County Commissioners Court proposed buying it for use as a courthouse annex.
That failed when the asking price, valid ownership and other issues pertaining to the building were questioned, although the court initially agreed to a lease-purchase agreement for $1.66 million for the former grocery store.
However, the county ended up leasing the structure for $340,000 to house temporary county offices while the Bee County Courthouse was being renovated – even though the Perry’s Building recently had been appraised at $50,000.