by Michael R. Allen
This solid corner building anchors the northwest corner of the intersection of Pleasant Street and Lee Avenue in the Fairground neighborhood. The composition is a classic example of the local Romanesque Revival vernacular, with striking use of rounded corner, rusticated limestone, ornamental pressed bricks and Roman arches. Vacant since 2007, the building recently had a collapse of the outer wythes of a chimney of the Lee Avenue elevation.
This collapse is no big deal. The building’s walls are otherwise straight and sound. However, instead of forcing owner Timothy Williams to make the needed repairs, or doing the work and billing him, the city’s Building Division condemned the building for demolition on August 28, 2009.
The building is located in the city’s 3rd ward, which has preservation review, so demolition is not a foregone conclusion. Still, why can’t the Building Division deal with a small problem like this without resorting to condemnation?
Meanwhile, the small house at 4160 Grove Street sits vacant and for sale. Only two other buildings stand on this block face, and they are located far down the block. This little house is surrounded by vacant lots, many of which are owned by the same owner. This is an urban farmstead in the making! The phone number on the house is 732-5080.