Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Use Clause Killed Parrett Street Deal ; Contract Also Held Renovations, Contractor, Cost WHO OWNS THAT?

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Use Clause Killed Parrett Street Deal ; Contract Also Held Renovations, Contractor, Cost WHO OWNS THAT?

Article excerpt

Three years after paying $57,400 over its assessed value to buy a historic brick manor near Downtown, city officials are yet to find a buyer. Tagged with graffiti, its scant grounds littered with broken slate roofing tiles, the obviously vacant house at 1112 Parrett St. is a towering red brick reminder of the cost versus benefit debate of historic preservation.

"I am glad they own it and not me," said Ron Boren, a one-time potential buyer.

In 2010, Boren nearly bought the stately looking two-story manor house from the Evansville Brownfields Corp. - a nonprofit corporation operated by city employees as a vehicle for redeveloping properties.

The Evansville Brownfields Corp. purchased the house from Heather Webber, who bought it in 1999 for $118,000 and operated a photography studio in it through 2007. That's when she decided to close her studio, although she continued to rent the upstairs to a residential tenant.

Webber said she bought the house because of its character. She said keeping it up was never a problem, but utility bills in the aging house could be high.

The house, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, remained for sale for more than a year with no takers, until the city called.

"We had it up for sale with a big sign for a long time," Webber said. "I don't think we had anybody come look at it."

The Brownfields Corp. bought the property for $190,000 in July 1999, according to Vanderburgh County Assessor's Office records. Webber said that price included a nearby vacant lot she owned.

The property's assessed value, according to the Assessor's Office, was $132,600 in 2009 when the city bought it. Last assessed in 2013, the Parrett Street property is currently valued at $127,200.

Brownfields Coordinator Carolyn Rusk, an employee of the Evansville Department of Metropolitan Development and secretary/ treasurer of the Evansville Brownfields Corp., said a request for proposals to purchase and rehabilitate the house met with "zero response. …

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