The clock has about run out the for the 13 houses on a block between Ash and Maple streets, and Keith Kelley, a West Central neighborhood activist, has managed to save six of them.
Earlier this year, Sarff Investments purchased the block with plans to demolish the houses, many of them architecturally significant, to make way for a carwash. Kelley heard about the situation and struck a deal
with the company that would allow him to find private investors or nonprofits that would physically move the houses before the company started work in May.
“Some of these homes are extra special,” says Kelley. Several houses have Victorian or craftsman style architecture, which Kelley says homebuilders stopped making decades ago.
One of the houses was given to a private investor who will move it to a location in West Central. Five will be taken by The Oak Tree, a religious nonprofit that will move them to locations throughout the city.
Kelley says that it ended up not being economically viable to move the remainder of the houses, and he expects them to be demolished. However, he says that given the short time frame and barriers in the zoning code, “it’s an outcome worth celebrating.”
“At this point we are thrilled that so many are going to be saved and restored,” he says.
Correction: A house was given to a private investor and five houses will be taken by The Oak Tree.