What can you do with three old houses that the city of Albany condemned as uninhabitable, and making them livable again would cost more than a million dollars? One answer is to tear them down so new dwellings can be built on the site.
Mark and Tina Siegner have applied to the city for permission to demolish the three derelict houses at Fourth Avenue and Calapooia Street. In February, they bought the property for $85,000 from the Signs of Victory Mission.
The Albany Planning Division issued a public notice of the application to owners within 300 feet. The city’s Landmarks Advisory Commission will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Sept. 5 in the City Hall council chamber.
The structures, on a single tax lot, are in the Monteith Historic District, and the city describes them as “historic contributing.” According to county tax records, they were built from 1890 to 1910.
The city condemned the dwellings as uninhabitable and boarded them up in November 2017.
The Siegners own Valley Homes Inc., a construction company. This spring they applied to CARA, the downtown urban renewal district, for $1 million in financial toward the estimated $1.5 million cost of refurbishing the houses and building two apartments and four garages on a vacant part of the L-shaped lot. But the application was pulled from the agenda of the CARA advisory board’s April meeting.
The houses were in such bad shape — trashed and infested with waste and vermin — that renovating them would require taking them down to the studs, the owners said in their CARA request.
When I talked to Mark Siegner in February, he told me that he was weighing whether to restore or demolish the structures, but whatever he did would make the property look great. With restoration proving prohibitively expensive, demolition evidently is the only other choice. (hh)