Ouerbacker House in October
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Ouerbacker House in October
Ouerbacker House in October. (Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

Russell’s Ouerbacker House has had quite an eventful past couple of years. But disassembling the historic 1860’s era mansion and shipping it out of state will definitely not come into play. Alarmed tipsters wrote in today to report that a Cincinnati company had proposed just such a scheme.

ResErections, Inc. has listed the Ouerbacker House on their web site as for sale for $2.25 million. That price doesn’t just get you the house, it disassembles it and rebuilds it for you anywhere in the country. There’s only one problem: the house’s owner has no intention of selling the property or tearing it down. It is, in fact, planned to be fully renovated at its existing site.

Lee McClymonds of ResErections says he has no connection with the owner, but would make contact when an interested buyer is found. According to the ResErections web site, “removal of the house would allow the land they occupy to be put to a higher end use. We love these old houses, and wouldn’t touch a house that is a grace to its surroundings.” The process involves carefully labeling each block of stone on the house’s facade and inputting it into a 3d computer model so it can be rebuilt on another site.

He explained that such houses in disadvantaged neighborhoods could be put to better use in other applications, especially when faced with threat of demolition. While buyers are scarce, interest in other houses has come from Connecticut, California, and Texas. McClymonds says no offers have been made on the Ouerbacker House but he could see it potentially serving as the front facade for a law firm in California.

Officials with the Land Bank Authority who administered the sale of the house and provided a grant towards its repair say such a proposal would most likely not be approved. The intent of the program is to see properties renovated at their current location for the benefit of their current community.

Scott Kremer of Studio Kremer Architects who stepped in to save the structure from demolition last year after a portion of the house’s east wall caved in has contacted ResErections asking that the Ouerbacker House be removed from its web site as he has “every intention to move forward as planned.” He was just as surprised to learn the house was offered for disassembly, especially after the east wall has been repaired and initial steps towards renovation have been taken.

Kremer has already established the Ouerbacker House Restoration Foundation, the official owners of the property, to guide the rehabilitation project.  The house was featured on last September’s AIA-CKC Architects’ House Tour after the first floor was cleared of debris and non-historic partition walls were removed. In all, Kremer said two full dumpsters were removed from the house.

You may notice that the mansion at 17th and Jefferson Streets is also no longer covered with a jungle of vines and weeds. Kremer says a delicate process of removing the vines has been undertaken to not damage the masonry. Simply pulling down the vines could have caused damage, but cutting the roots and waiting for the plants to die is much less detrimental.

While no plans have been finalized as to an official use for the renovated Ouerbacker House, Kremer says he is in serious discussions with a local non-profit who is interested in locating there. After narrowly dodging demolition, we’re just relieved the house will remain in Louisville and not be shipped out to California.

 

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Branden Klayko

4 COMMENTS

  1. the city no longer owns it and it's not for sale! this advert may not even have been legal since it was posted without the owner's knowledge. renovation will be accomplished primarily thru private investment and with the building remaining in place.

  2. Although I would hate to ever lose the Ouerbacher House, I can see where ResErections ideas are worthwhile. Buildings such as these can never be entrirely reproduced in every detail, yet they are great buildings. It is no secret that the greatest hindrance to the Ouerbacher house is its location, once on the western edge of town, now in an area investors aren’t ready to spend money. The city has no money to do what is necessary to fix and maintain the building; something like ResErections seems a viable alternative. If I had the extra money ($2.25M), I’d consider the purchase.

  3. I love that BS had the scoop on ResErections Inc. activity AFTER Broken Sidewalk. Hmmmm….wonder where they got the lead? Keep up the good work Branden. Somehow, ResErections activities seem incredibly unethical…feels like grave robbing.

  4. Reserections did not “list’ the house, but it was posted on an endangered structure web site for sale for $ 1.00, and Reserections, reposted it on their web site as being available. Later, the Land Bank gave the house and a chunk of money to Kremer architects to search for funding to repair the house. After a few years of trying, Kremer gave up trying to renovate and returned the house to the Land Bank. It continues to deteriorate and several portions of the house have collapsed.

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