Monday, June 1, 2009

Hannaford Designed Avondale mansion faces demolition hearing

The Hannaford Designed Mansion at 3725 Reading Road is set for a demolition hearing at 9:00 A.M. on June 12, 2009 in the Main Conference Room, First Floor, Business Development and Permit Center, 3300 Central Parkway.

One of the few Frame houses designed by Hannaford (most were stone). This home was built in 1884 is in the Shingle style with Queen Anne detailing. It was built for Walter Field who was the president of the American Cottonseed Oil company. The property became the Jewish Hotel in 1912 and later a rooming house.

According to city records the house had been an on going issue and was ordered vacant. . The home was sold at auction a few years ago and many had hoped it would be restored. This house is a listed National Landmark and to have a house that is on the national registry be the subject of a demolition hearing should be a source of embarrassment for the people and City of Cincinnati.

We need to come up with some sort of 'solution" here. Perhaps divert historic properties into a "hold status" while the house is listed for sale.? I can't imagine the present owner is OK with it being torn down? Perhaps reach an agreement with the owner to sell the house with a protective covenant that the house must be restored and a requirement that any new buyer must submit a restoration plan to the city?

Other cities have similar programs to buy some time for these homes to be saved, why can't Cincinnati? It is far cheaper for the taxpayer if a house is sold and saved rather than the taxpayer funded cost of tearing it down. A vacant lot does not contribute to the tax base of this city.


Bob said...

Are we planning to protest the demolition of this historic structure? I'm willing to go...

Paul Wilham said...

I am hoping to go to the hearing,butI have schedule conflict. I am preparing a letter of support from our neighborhood group in favor of saving the property and arguing that the city should try to reach a compromise with the property owner and explore ways to save it.

Of course we are trying to find people interested in a couple in our own neighborhood that are facing demo too.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the city offer incentives like tax abatements or something to attract potential buyers. Like, the city will pay the person who takes title of the house the amount of money it would have paid to tear the place down even if it was sold for a dollar. The money would have to be applied to the fixing of the house and the owner would have to live there for so many years and finish the job etc. etc. That is off the top of my head but something like that.

Paul Wilham said...

The city offers a 10 Yr Tax abatement on , I think, the first 275,000.00. I believe you can get a 15 yr abatement id you meet certain LEED certifications. The taxabatemnt is tranferrable when you sell the house.

I don't know much about the circumstances of the current owner, other than they bought it at an auction a few years back, and apparently have done little since buying it.

It will take a lot of money to restore this house BUT I think the value is there.