|This historic home may soon be lost due to city red tape|
Dayton Street known as "Millionairs Row" has some of the greatest architecture in the city, from grand Architectural fantasy's like the Hauck, Hatch and Gazlay Mansions once owned by the people who "made' Cincinnati what it was, to Grand Italianate and Second Empire Town homes owned by wealthy Merchants and Businessmen of the day, this was the place to be.
Like many Urban neighborhoods, Dayton street went into decline, its once grand mansion, home to fine dinner parties and important meeting were replaced by tenement apartments and rooming houses . We all know how 'bad' it once was but most will tell you its turned a corner. Everyone seems to know that except city officials. On any given weekend you can spot the out of state license plates . People actually come to Dayton street to look at the architecture. Architects, preservationists and just plain "old house people" flock to Dayton street, camera in hand taking pictures of some of the finest Architecture to be found not just in Cincinnati but the the entire United States. In any other city with this treasure your probably see guided tours with horse drawn wagons.
|The Gazlay mansion, just down the street, once several apartments is on its way back to single family and an extensive historic restoration|
While some homes are on their way back others are in eminent danger and such is the case of the Italianate across from the Hauck House. The home had suffered for years as an multi family apartment/rooming house. Complaints were many and its owner like many 'investor type' simple walked away from it after milking it for all it was worth and refinancing it to pull the maximum dollars out of it. Deutsche Bank was "on the hook' with a house no one wanted.because of the city orders against it.
To further complicate matters the city had taken them to court over their failure to maintain the property and that created a 'legal quagmire'. Several people had attempted to buy the house but the Roadblocks and red tape now in place due to the legal action caused most to throw up their hands in disgust.
|The Brands are well known for their preservation and restoration work like the wonderful restoration seen here|
But time is running out for the house which desperately needs a roof and removal of some severely deteriorated non historic additions. Most estimate the house will need an investment of 300-500,000.00 to completely restore and construct a new carriage house.
The Brands have been dealing with red tape for over a month now. Major sticking points include the city wanting an extensive list of repair orders completed in just 90 days and a 15,000 bond. The city has moved somewhat willing to cut the bond in half but since no bonding company will write a bond on the house that is essentially "cash money" the Brand's will have to put up. Couple that with the VBML requirements and liability insurance and large chucks of money, monies that could go for restoration, will be tied up.
The Brands find themselves in the middle of a "legal pissing match" between the city attorney and the bank. The Brands have proposed taking the issue of the bond requirement the court who originally dealt with the case between the city and the bank, but the City Attorney has not responded to the Brands request.
Local preservationists and neighbors are alarmed because this delay could kill the deal and set back preservation efforts on Dayton street. At a time when other cities learning that the Brands are looking to move are throwing incentives at them to move to move to their communities instead.
The loss of a restoration company and the new venture the Brands are contemplating in OTR , a historic plumbing company, would be devastating to the Preservation efforts in Cincinnati.
As one neighbor put it, "Here we have people willing to put money into our community, other cities are doing everything they can to get them to move to them and what are we doing? Putting every obstacle in the way? This is crazy!"
In fact many are calling for the city council to intervene and waive the bond. If the house does not get roof repairs soon, an important piece of history will be lost and City officials will continue to damage the national reputation of Cincinnati as a preservation minded city.