Friday, June 5, 2009

Restoration: Dream VS Reality Hannaford House on Reading

Getting ready for our antique sale , so just a quick post. I recently did a blogpost about the Hannaford designed house on Reading that was going to demo hearing. Since then the Enquirer did a story , it is on the Urban Ohio Board and a lot of people are talking about this. It is good for the preservation movement as things like this bring us together as a community.

It appears the owner really want to "restore it as B&B but is citing the financial downturn and financing issues as the problem. Supposedly, she will be bringing a "plan" on how she will accomplish this goal to the hearing and ask for more time. Hopefully, that will be granted, if she comes in with "pie in the sky' plan that is unrealistic, she is toast.

The building inspection knows what things REALLY cost, The mess the city found itself in over those brick homes in Walnut Hills has taught the city a valuable lesson. Things ALWAYS cost more that you think they will.

There is the point, Dream vs Reality.

I have worked on several B&B projects and Boutique hotels. The B&B projects are almost entirely 'self funded'. WHY? It is rare to find a bank that knows anything about historic properties much less restoration loans. You also have the appraisal issue, particularly with "pioneer projects' where you may be the first restoration in an area.

People often have NO CLUE what is costs to restore a house. In this case you have a 9000 square foot, 24 room three story with a detached carriage house to restore as well. I haven't been in the house so I don't know its condition but I can guess. The mechanicals: HVAC, plumbing, Kitchen, adding bathrooms for B&B, new electrical, probably sprinklers, AND you have the "pretty stuff" which typically requires highly skilled people. You are at 5-600,000.00 at a minimum. REALLY RESTORE? Add another 100K for things like period light fixtures and wallpapers. Furnish it and be totally done? A million bucks would not be unrealistic at the end of the day.

Restoration can typically run from 75.00-200.00, OR MORE, a square foot. Our little Second Empire Cottage? 1800 square foot? Our Budget is 225-250,000.00. Bear in mind I am doing allot of the work myself, because I know how.

In my opinion if she goes into this hearing with some skimpy budget, she is wasting her time. I think zoning restricts B&B to five units? That is a very high "Book Rate" just to cover the maintenance and up keep costs on a house that size. In my opinion she should "start' with a stabilization plan. Get the outside done, the grounds cleaned up. Get it looking like a house that someone lives in. Get the power on and put a good security system in. THEN deal with the dream. Be realistic however on the costs, your abilities, what you Can and Can't do yourself.

If you can demonstrate 'good faith' I think the people at the city would be flexible, I think people like Ed Cunningham at inspections, understands Historic houses. No one wants to see a landmark torn down. If , at the end of the day, you realize it is "just a dream" then agree to sell it to someone with the 'deep pockets' to do the job right.

We never "own' a historic house, we are just the temporary caretaker and it is important to do what is best for the house.

1 comment:

Quim said...

heck, even after she fixes the place up, she's going to have to come up with the cash to start up her B&B business....