Downtown residential property to be demolished

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The vacant two-unit residential rental in the 100 block of American Legion Place in downtown Greenfield will be demolished.

Mitchell Kirk | Daily Reporter

GREENFIELD – A residential property in the city’s downtown will be demolished after the owner who inherited it discovered needed repairs triple the structure’s worth.

The vacant two-unit residential rental is located in the 100 block of American Legion Place, across the street diagonally from the Hancock County Courthouse Annex.

A report prepared by the city notes the property is in extensive need of structural, mechanical and cosmetic repairs and that an appraiser would not do an interior inspection due to safety issues.

“Potentially rotted-out joists and support beams, wiring that was concerning to say the least, and plumbing that appears to have been leaking for an extended period of time, leading to some of that structural disrepair,” Greenfield senior planner Evan Beaty said at a city plan commission meeting earlier this month.

The property’s siding is asbestos-based and the support structure underneath appears to be rotting, according to the report. The document adds that the property is not in immediate danger of falling or collapsing.

R. David Huffman, the property’s owner, provided estimates, bids and proposals to the city indicating the expected costs to bring the structure to safe conditions would be nearly $112,000. An appraisal values the property at $35,000, noting that the “structural and mechanical issues make the subject not habitable.”

Huffman said at the plan commission meeting that he does not yet know when demolition will commence, adding he has reached out to three contractors but has yet to receive any figures.

He plans to re-seed the lot with grass.

“It will take a little bit before we can put the dirt and grass area because there is a partial basement under that, so there will have to undoubtedly be some settling,” Huffman said.

Redevelopment is likely to happen as part of a larger project, according to the city’s report, which notes the city’s 2013 Downtown Revitalization Plan proposes the property and the adjacent one for mixed-use redevelopment.

Huffman told the Daily Reporter that his late mother owned the property for 50 years, and that she owned the commercial property that spans the rest of the block as well. He inherited both upon her death two years ago.

The residential property had been rented out up until a year and a half ago, he continued. After determining there was a need to do repairs in the property’s basement and that it would need to be brought up to code, he concluded the endeavor would not be cost effective. Huffman added there was a possibility that the structure would’ve needed to have been jacked up, which could have damaged the plaster walls inside.

He estimates the house was built in the early 1900s.

Huffman has no plans for the lot once the structure is demolished and the land is re-seeded with grass.

“I’ve got most of the retail space rented, so I’m not interested in developing or doing anything there, but that’s something that maybe will come along someday,” he said.

The plan commission approved the demolition 8-0 after the Greenfield Historic Board of Review granted a certificate of appropriateness, which was necessary due to the property being in a city historic district.