Advertisement

Archive for Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Decaying historic home’s fate could be decided

Property owners at 1232 La. would like to tear down this old home, but the city's Historic Resources Commission and the Oread Neighborhood Association are against it because of the home's historic value. The City Commission is expected to decide the home's fate at tonight's meeting.

Property owners at 1232 La. would like to tear down this old home, but the city's Historic Resources Commission and the Oread Neighborhood Association are against it because of the home's historic value. The City Commission is expected to decide the home's fate at tonight's meeting.

June 10, 2008

Advertisement

Historic home's future under debate

A battle brews over the future of a 90-year-old home just east of the KU campus. City commissioners tomorrow night will discuss whether to allow a development group to raze the home at 1232 Louisiana Street. Enlarge video

City commissioners tonight are expected to decide the fate of an early-1900s home just east of Kansas University that a development group wants to raze but historic preservationists want to save.

Commissioners at their weekly meeting will consider taking action to clear the way for a demolition permit at 1232 La.

"It is really rough throughout, and the foundation also has major problems," said Price Banks, a Lawrence attorney who is representing 1240 Louisiana Street Associates LLC, which owns the property.

But historic preservationists and leaders with the Oread Neighborhood Association said the house - which has been standing since at least 1918 - is a classic example of a historically significant home being allowed to deteriorate to the point that demolition becomes a feasible option.

"I think this is probably a good case study for demolition by neglect," said Lynne Braddock Zollner, the city's historic resources administrator.

Zollner has recommended that the city deny the demolition. The city's Historic Resources Commission also has taken action to deny the demolition permit. Last week, the Oread Neighborhood Association also joined in the opposition by expressing concern that the demolition could encourage other property owners in the area to seek demolition permits.

But Banks said rehabilitating the seven-bedroom, three-bath home is not financially feasible. A recent estimate by a local construction company pegged rehabilitation costs at about $500,000.

Banks also said his client shouldn't be punished for the lack of maintenance on the property. His client purchased the property in 2007 from the Kansas University Endowment Association.

"The house has been vacant, and there has been deferred maintenance for a long, long time," said Banks, who believed the deferred maintenance began long before the Endowment Association took over the property in 2000.

Rosita Elizalde-McCoy, senior vice president of communications for the association, said the property was in poor condition when it had to purchase it as part of a package deal related to a property acquisition for a new scholarship hall in the 1300 block of Ohio Street.

Zollner, though, said that when she went through the property two years ago she believed the property could feasibly be rehabilitated. At that time, the city estimated it would cost about $130,000 to bring the property up to minimum code standards.

Elizalde-McCoy said the association did not have the expertise to rehabilitate the house, but held onto the property until 2007 to ensure that it wouldn't be needed for a future use by the university.

Banks said the property owner hasn't decided on any future development for the property, and also said he wasn't at liberty to disclose the principal individuals involved with 1240 Louisiana Street Associates. According to a 2007 annual report filed with the Kansas Secretary of State's office, the lone member of the company is R. Dean Wolfe.

City commissioners technically must decide whether there is a feasible and prudent alternative to the demolition. Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. today at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.

Comments

Michael Sizemore 6 years, 6 months ago

BTW - "inferior", in this case dosen't refer to the builder, it refers to the materials:old vs new:wood lap siding (90 years strong) vs pressed cement board, hardy siding, T-111 or vinyl? (won't last 20).stucco vs Dryvit. (mold)plaster vs drywall. (mold)stone vs engineered stone veneeryou name it - wood trimfloorswindowswhatever - modern materials are not made to last 100 years. If the new building IS designed to last that long, then the cost of NEW construction is much, much greater than rehab.

Michael Sizemore 6 years, 6 months ago

if the owner wanted a hummer, why did he buy a classic?

Kookamooka 6 years, 6 months ago

This story is horrible. Why is this property so important? Did it have some significance? Did someone famous live there? Or does it just have nice bones, hardwood and built-ins? The property that could really use some historic preservation is the Turnhall at 9th and Rhode Island. NOW there's a historic property that is decayed beyond belief. And one with an interesting story and significance. Too bad the owner doesn't care about it. There could be a huge movement to save that one!I'm a little concerned about the Masonic lodge, too. If that sits dormant too much longer, it will decay. But...maybe that's the whole point. Then they can tear it down and build loft apartments with more retail below.

Michael Sizemore 6 years, 6 months ago

BUT there ARE incentives - assuming the property will be used as a rental, there are both federal and state tax rebates. approximately 50% of the construction costs can be recouped. the tax credits can be sold to recoup all of the costs upfront. If the renovation cost $500-600k, the owners could probably get $250-300k back. Therefore, the out of pocket expense for the rehab would be in the range of $250-300k.Those that think you could tear this down and build a comparable structure for 250-300k are misguided. those that assert it would take 3/4 million to rehab a historic house are just ignorant.Because of the tax credits available the rehab costs and costs of an inferior-built new house would be quite similar.

igby 6 years, 6 months ago

Why are these Oread district people involved anyway. This house is in the HanCock district and it's not within 500 feet of any historic buildings.

EarthaKitt 6 years, 6 months ago

Sadly this house may be beyond repair. Not long ago I was given permission to salvage what I could from an old house that was essentially gutted and "remodeled" in the Oread neighborhood. The house had been allowed to decay in order to justify this renovation for the profit of a small group of developers here in town. While the new house is now inhabitable, the bones are completely gone and the home's character has been lost. The best news is that the pieces we were able to remove are being used to restore other old houses across Lawrence. We salvaged door knobs, base boards, medicine cabinets, hinges, stained glass windows, doors, light fixtures -- the list goes on and on. To this day my friends and family still call to find out if we have this or that. The beauty and quality of these old homes will never be matched. The focus now should be the creation of incentives that make it more attractive for owners to restore these homes. These neighborhoods -- Oread and East Lawrence -- can come back if enough attention is paid to them. Old West Lawrence wasn't always picturesque. It took effort and work to bring that area back. I hope the same happens in the other historic parts of town.

Michael Sizemore 6 years, 6 months ago

soo - the only people that can work on the restoration of a house are, "wealthy gay architects from Seattle"?!ignorant and classless.there are many local contractors that are capable of such an effort.

Michael Sizemore 6 years, 6 months ago

none - what business is it of yours?why should we, as a community be encouraging the wanton destruction of our historic houses by a few people wanting to make a quick buck buy building inferior buildings.you, marion, I guess support this.

PeteJayhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

I wonder who the person or people behind this "1240 Louisiana Street Associates LLC" is/are...

4thgencowgirl 6 years, 6 months ago

I am very much of a stickler when it comes to preserving history, but this poor old house is silently screaming for somebody to "please tear me down". The foundation is in dire need of repair. Just looking at the Castle Tea Room and what they have been doing to it for the last year makes my pocket book ache. I can't imagine ever getting this house back up to code and why. Renovation is good if you have something to renovate, but please get it out of its misery.

acg 6 years, 6 months ago

I'm all for preserving as much history as possible, but its so obvious this place has been completely let go for too long. Now it doesn't seem economically feasible to try and bring it back. I agree with cowboy. Whoever is holding up demo should cough up the cash to buy it outright, or go away.

HootyWho 6 years, 6 months ago

Don't care what happens,,,as long as i don't have to pay for it

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 6 months ago

Multidisciplinary--It very well could be that this house was owned and neglected by slumlords long enough that it's beyond rehabilitation/restoration.If not, as was pointed out above, there are tax credits available to enable the right person with the bank account and patience to save this house, which is much better than another 4-plex crackerbox.

ilovelucy 6 years, 6 months ago

Cool: yes, it can be renovated. How do you suggest the money be raised to do so?Do you really think that the present owner bought this property to renovate it? I think not. They probably want to raze it and build something ticky tack.

Michael Sizemore 6 years, 6 months ago

Marion = hypocrite.spin?"a house that is indeed and in fact near physical collapse"...please.we as "the community" have the right to express ourselves about whatever is taking place in our community.demolition by neglect is a serious concern to us that believe there remains some value to something "old". we don't want to see the last 150 years of local construction history be sent to the dump and replaced by cracker-box duplexes."shut up?" obviously your maturity is as developed as your logic.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 6 years, 6 months ago

Some 24 years ago I lived in that house. It had some really classic features. This is too bad.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 6 months ago

Has cool registered decayinghomeat1232la dot com yet?

karmaxs3 6 years, 6 months ago

Someone who wants to save it should contact "This Old House" and see if they'd come do a show on it's rehab. That would probably make it fiscally viable, give the new hotel and Lawrence national exposure, and make for a good season of shows. Someone call Norm!!!!

cowboy 6 years, 6 months ago

IMO anyone who wants to hold up demolition should have to show up with a cashiers check made out for the full appraised purchase price + reasonable profit. In addition the HRC should only approve designations on property whose owners have a sound restoration plan backed by financial gaurantee's to restore the property in a reasonable period of time , failure to do so should result in a loss of the designation.

LogicMan 6 years, 6 months ago

All good things must come to an end. That building appears to be a health hazard (firetrap, "attractive nuisance", etc.) from the photo; it is well-past time for it to be replaced. Or at least the lot cleared off to create some green space.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 6 months ago

Any estimates on how much this would take to rehab/restore this house from anyone who hasn't inspected it closely (and knows what they are looking at) aren't worth the electrons that transmitted them.

Shardwurm 6 years, 6 months ago

"this property can indeed be restored.to believe otherwise is simply to accept this charade"Um...no one is saying this property can't be restored. The discussion revolves around whether it is worth it to do so.I tend to agree with the majority of the posters here - what's so significant about a house built in 1918? If it was built in 1850 and Jim Lane lived there I could understand.

igby 6 years, 6 months ago

After the Oread Inn, fraud these people encouraged they have no credibility anywhere in the city. I will bash them any time they slip up.These people are distributing their Newspaper into mail boxes without proper postage. That's a federal crime. Not everyone that lives here wants to read your garbage newpaper. If I find it in my mail box without proper postage, I will have you prosecuted.

Baille 6 years, 6 months ago

"'The house has been vacant, and there has been deferred maintenance for a long, long time,' said Banks, who believed the deferred maintenance began long before the Endowment Association took over the property in 2000."Zollner, though, said that when she went through the property two years ago she believed the property could feasibly be rehabilitated. At that time, the city estimated it would cost about $130,000 to bring the property up to minimum code standards."Elizalde-McCoy said the association did not have the expertise to rehabilitate the house, but held onto the property until 2007 to ensure that it wouldn't be needed for a future use by the university."Like a good neighbor...Just another reason why I give my money to a different university in Kansas.

Michael Capra 6 years, 6 months ago

zoller doesnt have a clue it will take 750000 to do it right.As for zoller how did the paper get ahold of her she is never at work, oh I got it they called her at home

Michael Capra 6 years, 6 months ago

logicman that sounds like common sence and that chapter is not in sandy days code book or zollers

Michael Sizemore 6 years, 6 months ago

Likewise, people who feel "every" old house is a decaying pile of rubble not worthy of salvage are acting irresponsibly. Continually tearing down and rebuilding is unnecessarily depleting our natural resources.Some people prefer a restored classic as opposed to a new Hummer.

flyin_squirrel 6 years, 6 months ago

There is a renovation going on at 1339 Ohio right now, and from what I hear, the owners will have spent over 700,000 on the renovation. Linda Zollner has no clue what it takes to bring a house up to code (sad given her job). The Oread Ass. would require the developer to meet parking codes (they required 1339 Ohio to build tandem parking). This house has no parking and would need to have entire hill behind the house dug out, with a retaining wall built. Her $130,000 cost might not cover the parking alone.Linda might want to learn to keep her mouth shut on subjects she has no clue about (oh wait, this subject is directly related to her job and she has no clue!).

grtrealtor 6 years, 6 months ago

You know what I don't get???????Why is it that people ENJOY living around 1000's of slum property in this town? It is EVERYWHERE in Lawrence!The city apparently enjoys it, the residents apparently enjoy it.When someone wants to actually rid the city of one, everyone throws up their arms in protest! It's like living in "The Twilight Zone" with the local mentality.This town 25+ years ago used to be a beautiful, inviting area, and now it seems if you don't LOVE slum properties, you "shouldn't live here". Do the folks at city hall (who claim there are codes----and IF there ARE codes, why are they so blatently not being inforced?) own these slum properties?------THEY MUST.When someone wants to build something nice and new......people PROTEST! This town is dying a slow death. Is it any wonder why business are closing right and left, more and more people are moving OUT of Lawrence than moving into it, and businesses don't want to move or expand here?It was such an embarassment having out of town company whom had heard that Lawrence was so unique and special, only to say when they got here.......this town is a dump. And they were right!I finally had enough and moved out too, over into the county to the East of Lawrence (do I dare mention it's name without being ridiculed?). And you know what? Not a single piece of crud house in my new neighborhood........it shows pride of ownership, something Lawrence is SERIOUSLY lacking.

Michael Sizemore 6 years, 6 months ago

Sorry Marion - I didn't realize you were a structural engineer...or is it a contractor? my guess is neither (your ignorance gives you away.)How bad is the foundation? Have you seen it? Many foundations can be repaired by means other than "lifting the house". But even if it did require such 200k? no way.Can the windows be repaired? many can, and believe it or not 100 year old windows, when repaired properly, with storm windows, are more efficient than new windows.Lead paint abatement? Why on earth would anyone do that? Cover it with new paint and it what we call in the business "contained" and no longer a hazard.Do you know if the house has asbestos? most rental properties, and buildings owned by the university have been abated years ago.Period correct roof?! again, your ignorance is evident. The KSHS allows new asphalt roofs on restoration projects all the time.Why would you remove the siding? from the picture it looks decent. Some patching and painting, and it will last another 50.Is there termite damage? There are many professional exterminators that can help with that.Why remove the plaster?Why not paint the wood work?A million dollars? Hardly. 300-400, maybe and yes, you would get roughly ½ of that back in tax credits.I know several developers that do exactly this sort of thing:but none in Lawrence.And as noted above it ain't for sale, chump.Why don't you go find a forum where you might actually know something about...how about "too young to take the wheel?"Swan Diver Couldn't agree more. There are a few exceptions, but that organization has become top heavy with dead weight.

Michael Sizemore 6 years, 6 months ago

no doubt max - the scholarship halls down the hill are a good example of that. brick veneer and dryvit...with proper maintenance, might last 30 years.jayhawk towers, now, on the other hand - structural brick - will out-live the roaches.

Michael Sizemore 6 years, 6 months ago

So the guy that wants to tear it down, hires another guy to give him an estimate of rehabilitation costs:duh no conflict there. In addition, it does not factor in the federal and state tax credits.But if that's want you want to believe, it IS there in black and white:it MUST be true:

classclown 6 years, 6 months ago

The cost of refurbishing this or any other "historic" building is never too much.As long as it's someone else's money and not your own.Although that principle applies to many other things in this town as well.

Michael Sizemore 6 years, 6 months ago

historic tax credits are bought and sold every day.formoney.again - go find a forum where you can at least sound intelligent.It's not my property, and it's not for sale."If it was mine, I think I'd leave it boarded up and let it rot to the point a which it absolutely HAD to be torn down." - YOU sound like every other slumlord in town. Demo by neglect. YOU, and people with YOUR attitude are THE PROBLEM.

Bob Forer 6 years, 6 months ago

hawkperchedatriverfront.wrote: "what happened to jewish lightning?" Thanks for revealing yourself as an unmitigated bigot and anti-Semite.

deskboy04 6 years, 6 months ago

I think that they should tear the building down. 1918 isn't all that old...hardly historic.

Haiku_Cuckoo 6 years, 6 months ago

And you know what? Not a single piece of crud house in my new neighborhood=======Let me guess: Particle-board construction, vertical plywood siding, every third house looks the same, entire neighborhood was built in a matter of months, many taupe colored homes nearby. Those houses are shoddy garbage, chief. If you think you live someplace special, you're only kidding yourself. Take a look at the similarly built homes in Johnson County from the 1980s. They now have warped siding, rotten wood and foundation cracks...and they're not even 30 years old!

Daytrader23 6 years, 6 months ago

Wow, Not even 100 years old and considered historic.Most places in the world anything less than 300 years is considered new. Lets face the facts people. Wood rots, stone does not. You can't save a house that is almost in saw dust like condition. I say tear it down and build a stone or brick house that really can last a LONG time.

George_Braziller 6 years, 6 months ago

There is plenty of pride in the older neighborhoods. If the Endowment Assocation had put maybe $6,000 into this property for roof repairs and some paint when they acquired it, it would be in fine shape and could be easily restored. So the developers want to tear it down and put up what? Another crappy cardboard townhouse that will only last about 50 years at best? To re-build a house like this with the same materials and construction would cost around $750,000.Nope, let's just tear it down and build crap. Wham bam thank you ma'm I made my buck and I'm out of here.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 6 months ago

BTW, the cyber**ing website cool is plugging is part of a certain odious local 'forum' where you can see stellar examples of juvenile personal attacks. If that's what you're all about, I'd recommend going through proxify dot com if you want to check it out.

grtrealtor 6 years, 6 months ago

Marion states: " If it was mine, I think I'd leave it boarded up and let it rot to the point a which it absolutely HAD to be torn down."My point exactly and a prime example of the local mentality. Thank you Marion for helping me make my point.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.