A camel-back shotgun house at 1131 Payne Street in Irish Hill long in foreclosure is set for demolition. Neighboring business owner J.C. Stites, co-founder of 8664, purchased the building at auction in March but plans to raze the house are causing a stir in the neighborhood as some fear future demolition and surface parking lots.
Stites, who attempted to buy the structure four years ago, said he understands the concerns and resistance of the neighborhood. “It makes me sick to think that I’m tearing something down, but I have to consider what am I saving?” he said, citing lead paint, a sagging foundation, rotting wood beneath vinyl siding, and holes in walls. Stites said he has no plans to pave a parking lot on the site, only to remove the building, plant grass, and extend a picket fence that’s in front of his adjacent business.
According to en amail, he told Lisa Dettlinger of the Irish Hill Neighborhood Association that initial estimates for rehabbing the house were too expensive and the city declared the building uninhabitable until lead in the soil was abated. “I don’t come to this decision easily. I’m an advocate for historic preservation and smart growth. That’s why I invested in this neighborhood to rehab the church building we’ve been in for more than eight years,” the email said. Still, as one tipster writes, revealing the unease of neighbors, “I fear his ultimate goal is to buy the house next that house and also tear it down. He told the Neighborhood association that the house was structurally unsound and it would benefit the neighborhood to tear it down.”