News & Updates | Chautauqua County Land Bank

Land Bank, Community Members Work To Save Historic House

Posted on Monday, August 22, 2016 at 11:16 AM

From The Jamestown Post-Journal.

One northside family has saved another historic house with assistance from the Chautauqua County Land Bank Corporation.

Earlier this month, the land bank board approved the sale of 642 Winsor St. to Allen and Sheila Myers, who live next door to the property. With assistance from the land bank, the Myers bought the property at a lower price to utilize more of their funding toward refurbishing the historic house.

Mark Geise, land bank executive director, said the house was on the market for a couple years before the land bank purchased the property. He said the asking price started around $90,000, but continued to fall until the land bank purchased the house for about $30,000. After purchasing the house, land bank officials evaluated and assessed the property for sale.

”The house was fairly historic in terms of age. You could tell by its bones it was a grand old house,” said Gina Paradis, land bank administrative director. ”The exterior was in horrible condition. Neighbors were upset to have this in the midst of their block. There was a lot of interest in seeing something happen to it. The neighbors were pretty happy when we picked it up.”

Paradis said when they looked inside the house they discovered all the pipes had burst, which meant the mechanical systems in the house like heat, water and electric needed to be replaced.

”We knew that once we went through it that it needed so much work it was likely we weren’t going to get $30,000 for it,” Geise said. ”People had looked at the house in the past when it was $30,000 and knew they couldn’t afford it plus the work.”

Geise said when the land bank purchases a house for their Rehabs 4 Sale program, they offer the property for 60 percent of its appraised value. This led land bank officials to first offer the Winsor Street property for $19,000. However, with the work needing to be done inside the house, land bank officials accepted Myers’ $12,000 offer.

”They are going to invest $92,500 into the property,” he said. ”They are going to bring it back to its original condition. They told us that at the right price they would do all the heavy lifting. With (the land bank) putting the house on the market at the right price, it gave them the room to do it.”

Sheila Myers said this will be the third house on the northside they have purchased to renovate. They also purchased the former Jamestown Community College ”President’s House,” located at 636 Winsor St.

”I love houses, which is my downfall. I cannot stand to see them disintegrate. The northside has the most beautiful architecture. I hate to see them go to waste,” she said. ”We live next door to the one we are buying now. It is a nice neighborhood and we want to preserve the neighborhood. It is beautiful inside, but it needs a lot of work.”

Myers said her son, Chris, is the owner of Myers Custom Contracting, who will be doing most of the work on the house. She said once the renovation is completed, they plan to use the property as a guest house for family and friends.

”This is an example of the type of thing we do. The land bank was able to step in to purchase the property to find the right buyer who will save the structure,” Geise said. ”In a sense, it will save the neighborhood. Who knows? Once a house goes, it can be a cancer for the whole neighborhood.”


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