Thursday, January 8, 2009

Preservationists Unite ! Save Bank Street !!!!

Thanks to "Building Cincinnati" Blog for this information! Four Historic Homes at 833-839 Bank street will be torn down unless something can be done. I have been by these homes and they all are restorable and have intact exterior detailing that should be preserved. These four homes sit directly behind historic Dayton Street which is home to some of the grandest ( and most expensive) downtown residential real estate in the city.

The economics of restoration clearly make sense. The question is who does the city have a system where four homes will be needlessly torn down because of nuisance complaints? Additionally why can't the city work with the property owner to reach a compromise where these four homes could be sold or donated to a preservation group who could stabilize them and then resell them, with protective historic covenants, to individuals who would restore them? At the very least allow the property owner to put them on the market to see if they can be sold. A protective conditional covenant can be put on the sale requiring the new owner to pull permits within 90 days. Clearly some "compromise" can be found.
Clearly four restored homes that would range in value once restored from 150-300,000 each would be a better contributor to the city tax base than 4 vacant lots. In fact restoration of these homes might spur new infill townhouses on the vacant lots east of the properties.
As for myself I am willing to donate my time to develop a comprehensive restoration plan to anyone either individual or developer, who will buy and save these properties.
I have sent a "Preservation 911" alert to the National Trust for Historic Preservation as clearly the senseless demolition of these homes will impact the historic fabric of the neighborhood. I encourage everyone to contact your city council members and the mayors office to ask the question, Why can't a compromise be reached and why is the city tearing down important historic structures?
Why is the system broken that allows this to happen and what will the city do to correct the problem?

If enough of us 'raise a stink" perhaps pressure can be put on the city to SAVE rather than DESTROY its architectural heritage!


Southall said...

I agree, There is so much historic and significant architecture at risk in this area, and it really does affect the character of the city.

What by way of materials and costs do you think would be needed to restore these properties?

Paul Wilham said...

These are not 'easy' restorations, they were rentals for years before they became vacant, However they are brick and structurally they are sound. Couple that with fine exterior detailing and the fact that similar sized homes on Dayton street are in the 100-300K range and the economics make sense. Although I belive it would be best to keep them, single family it might be possible to condo the larger two buildings into 3 units each. I am willing to donate my services to write a historic restoration plan for anyone who can get one of these at no charge. Certaionly the acquisition costs would be minimal per square foot. It really depends on the level of restoration as to the final costs, but someone with some skills of their own could do the interior demo and save a ton of money.

Anonymous said...

I owned a home on Dayton St (808 Dayton) for 9 years. As much as I loved my house, it was always a struggle/battle to deal with the constant problems of living in the area. Too numerous to mention here, But don't fool yourself into thinking that it's not a "bad" neighborhood. It just is, and since I've been gone from Dayton St. (11 years now) NOTHING has changed on the street. It's a shame...myself and all of my neighbors stuck it out in the hope that the city would wise up and finally appreciate the area...again, NOTHING has changed.

Paul Wilham said...

I disagee that it is a "Bad neighborhood", Yes there are some Bad people there BUT you cannot deny that a fundamental change has happened. More properties are being converted back to single family. Fixers that once sold for a song now sell for 50-70K and restored homes command prices from 100K and up.

It has been a long time coming but I see a fundamental change and i have recieved emails from current residents who love the neighbohrood and are very committed to it and think it is steadily improving.Iconsider those who live there now the best barometer of the neighborhoods future.