Winter 2015 Preservation In Progress Awards

Good things have been happening this year in the 1100 block of Rhode Island! In recognition, LPA is announcing two winners of our PIP Award. The winners are:

1106 Rhode Island LLC - 1106 Rhode Island

 1106 Rhode Island St.

1106 Rhode Island St.

This LLC, formed by the Hernly and Myers families exclusively for this project, is on the verge of completing the complex and monumental task that has been vexing city and neighborhood leaders for over 30 years. How the Rhody Delahunty Transfer and Storage Company slipped from years of prosperity, and at times flamboyant notoriety, into a rusty graveyard of Packard chassis and crumbling historic structures is a story we will try to summarize in our next newsletter.

Condemned by the Lawrence City Commission in 2013 in a last-ditch attempt to save it, the Hernly/Myers group was the only respondent to a City RFP to buy the property, complete the cleanup, and rehab the significant structures. While the property was located on a very desirable corner lot bordering downtown, it also was listed as a contributing property to the North Rhode Island Historic District on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Any redevelopment proposal involving wholesale demolition would likely not be permitted.

What has resulted is a mixed-use development that saves the house, its historic addition, the barn and the truck shed. A new, one-story master suite was added onto the back of the house, and a two-story gabled garage with apartment above has replaced a ragtag and unsalvageable collection of sheds that were in the southeast corner of the property. The barn and truck shed will be the new offices of Hernly and Associates, currently located upstairs at 920 Massachusetts. The house and the apartment will be rentals.

Besides the courageous action of the City Commission and the LLC, the project has required a Special Use Permit, a rezoning from RM12 to RMO, setback variances for existing buildings from the Board of Zoning Appeals, use of both the federal and state historic tax credit programs, and a 10 year, 85% Neighborhood Revitalization Act (NRA), which rebates (until year eleven) 85% of the taxes on increased property value due to the major improvements. A Development Grant from the City waived fees for permit application and new sewer/water services. The transformation taking place is a major success story for everyone involved and for preservation in Lawrence, Kansas.

Marci Francisco & Joe Bickford - 1124 Rhode Island

 1124 Rhode Island St.

1124 Rhode Island St.

Just a few doors south of 1106 RI, who else would be behind the cleanup and stabilization of this gable front and wing contributing property? For years Marci and Joe have quietly and deliberately worked their own particular brand of magic on a number of historic, vernacular houses desperately needing their experienced touch. Some of these have been in the Oread neighborhood with other partners; many have been in the East Lawrence neighborhood. In 2010, LPA presented them with our highest honor, the Preservation Achievement Award, in recognition of their efforts.

The PIP is awarded here for their work to prepare this house for eventual rehab: cleanup, foundation and porch repair, floor-leveling, installing new solar-reflective roofing shingles, and replacing an inappropriate porch floor with tongue and groove flooring. Marci and Joe continue to show us that a neighborhood is best improved little by little, one house at a time.