If the city of Albany wants three century-old houses in the Monteith Historic District rebuilt and preserved, it will have to put up a million dollars in urban-renewal aid. The issue comes up Wednesday when the advisory board of the Central Albany Revitalization Area meets.
Mark and Tina Siegner, owners of the Albany construction firm Valley Homes Inc., bought the derelict houses at Calapooia Street and Fourth Avenue from the Signs of Victory Mission in February for $85,000. A few days later Mark told me they were evaluating whether to try to rebuild the structures, which had been condemned by the city as unsafe and uninhabitable, or replace them with something new on the single tax lot they share.
That evaluation evidently has taken place. In an application to CARA, the Siegners say the houses would have to be taken down to the studs and completely rebuilt. Doing that, plus building a four-garage structure in back with two apartments above, would cost an estimated $1,419,400.
Two banks have declined to make loans. The Siegners are asking CARA for $1 million, half as a 15-year loan, the other half as a grant if they complete the project.
The applicants say that without CARA funding, restoration of the houses is not feasible. “These homes have been neglected for over 40 years,” the application says. “The cost of proper restoration is astronomical because of the condition of these homes. … No lending institution will loan in their current condition.”
The CARA advisory board meets at 5:15 April 18 at City Hall. The board will have to consider whether this restoration is worth the cost, or whether CARA’s goals of removing blight and increasing housing types and density within central Albany can be better met some other way. (hh)