December 10, 2018
A beautiful building situated in The Historic Old West End (OWE) Neighborhood. It was our first project in the area and we felt it very important as a restoration company and as developers to add it to our portfolio. The building was in terrible condition after we purchased it at a tax foreclosure auction. Peeling paint, run down finishes, many interior unintentional water features, buckled wood flooring. Long time neighbors of the building told us it was a drug house prior to the city taking it over.
The building was built in 1922 and is across the street from The Cathedral Queen of Holy Rosary which is one of the most stunning churches I’ve ever seen. It’s constructed in a beautiful Spanish Platteresque style built in 1912 it has been maintained immaculately by the Catholic Diocese and is the cornerstone of the neighborhood. It serves as a great selling point for potential residents looking to occupy the space as it provides an outstanding view.
This project was certainly a long labor of love it was the true definition of Murphy’s Law. Here is a small bit of what went down:
- Navigating the historic commission-being located in the old west end, any changes being made to the exterior has to be approved by the historic commission. Traditionally they require all windows be restored to original which would mean all wood. The #1 problem with this is the sheer COST! It would literally double the total cost of renovation thereby making it financially impossible to renovate. The #2 problem is that wood windows simply aren’t efficient. The building has _____ windows!! Of course our proposal to replace the windows with more efficient, cost effective windows were denied. We had to go before the board to discuss the challenges and propose possible solutions that could be beneficial to both the commission and for us. Luckily we have the support of the Lucas County Land Bank, the president, David Mann attended the hearing with us and spoke on our behalf to reach a common ground. We agreed to restore the front façade windows and to replace the others with a more efficient, cost appropriate vinyl window. However, the process took much longer than we anticipated, delaying the project 2 months.
- Building Inspection hold up-at the time we had a problem with our local building inspection process. You’d submit something for review and it would take 30 days to hear back. At the end of 30 days they would deny it for having an exit light missing on the plans. Then we would submit again with the missing exit light then wait another 30 days before we would get denied again for something small. End result, delayed…delayed…delayed… We have a new mayor who understands the struggle of local developers and is working to change the process and its changed a lot. Instead of the 30 day period you will get an approval or denial with 17 days. Woot Woot!!
- Historic Windows-the front façade windows since had to be restored to original wood took a very long time. We had to seek the help of a specialized company and of course the process took a couple months to complete.
- The complete erosion of the basement framing-the joys of renovating an old building! You never know what you’ll find before peeling the walls back. Once the drywall was taken down ALL the framing was completely and utterly ROTTED!! This was an added expense that we didn’t forsee. We had to reframe every square foot of the 2 apartments down there, none of it could be saved. More time and money!
With all that being said I couldn’t be more proud of what the team accomplished with this building. They are certainly the best ones yet. They were the first apartments I had professionally staged, my diamonds in the rough!