Indiana Landmarks in early March purchased the historic Owen Block building in Evansville, Ind., and will now work to save the property from demolition. The nonprofit organization bought the 1882 rowhouse from the Neuhoff family for $14,000, the amount of the county and state tax liens.
“This great building was so dilapidated that we started not at zero but at negative $440,000. That’s the gap we needed to fill to get anyone interested in tackling the restoration,” said Marsh Davis, president of Indiana Landmarks, in a written statement.
Indiana Landmarks after buying the property conveyed the Owen Block to Michael Martin of Architectural Renovators, Inc.
Because of the deal, the Evansville Building Commission was expected to rescind the demolition order for the Owen Block building.
The money Indiana Landmarks raised to fill the gap—$440,000—will be disbursed to Martin in four installments to help cover the cost of stabilization and a portion of the exterior restoration. The city of Evansville contributed $50,000—less than it would have spent to demolish the building. A preservation covenant held by Indiana Landmarks will remain attached to the property in perpetuity. The covenant constitutes a partial ownership interest and gives the preservation organization the right to monitor and approve exterior changes.
Architectural Renovators will being working soon to stabilize the building as outlined in a six-month agreement with Indiana Landmarks that covers the primary exterior restoration. Martin said he’ll tackle the roof and the immediate structural repairs first, and then work on the exterior.