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Commission hopes to save dilapidated Rainey Street home
Wednesday, September 30, 2009 by Austin Monitor
The Historic Landmark Commission put off a decision on
At the heart of the case is the conflict between Rainey’s recent rezoning, to become part of the Central Business District, and its existing status as a National Register District.
Commissioner Joe Arriaga, a retired city building code inspector, asked planner Susan Villarreal for an update on the status of
The cottage at
Despite the damage, commissioners were loath to part with the building and have encouraged its relocation over its demolition.
“This is a National Register Historic District,” Terri Myers said. “I would like to note when the applicants offer new construction, it doesn’t enhance a historic district… It just contributes to its demise.”
Attorney Robert Icenhauer-Ramirez, representing the house’s most recent owner, cited the report of a structural engineer that found extensive water damage, rotting wood and water spots. In some areas of the house, the flooring has rotted completed through to the foundation. In most rooms, the floors are soft and sagging, a sign that that framing elements of the house had been compromised severely.
Icenhauer-Ramirez said restoring the home would require removing and replacing the framing; demolishing and reconstructing walls; and replacing most of the finishes on the interior and exterior. A sag of one inch is acceptable in a home. In the case of this house, some areas sag 10 inches.
“Very little of the original structure would remain intact in trying to make this structure sound,” Icenhauer-Ramirez said. “Most of it would have to be removed and replaced, demolished, in order to make this safe.”
Arriaga agreed the house was in “horrendous shape” – one of the worst the commission had seen in recent months, but Villarreal still wanted a bit more time on the case, if only to study the Rainey Street historic district application and possibly come to some conclusion as to how the elements of the house might be reused in a potential new structure.
At one time, some spoke of
Almost a decade ago, developers Robert Knight and Perry Lorenz proposed buying up much of the property in the area and developing a new location for high-density downtown housing that also would include street-level commercial uses.
Today, most of the lots along
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