110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Pat Andrews
posted Jul 6, 2012 - 7:07:18am
An additional $15,000 made the difference.
At its July 2 meeting, the DeLand City Commission approved Downtown DeLand businessman Mark Shuttleworth’s offer to take a house off the city’s hands for $25,000. Earlier, a majority of commissioners had rejected Shuttleworth’s initial $10,000 offer.
Ownership of the vacant and deteriorating house at 117 W. Howry Ave. fell to the city after an unpaid code-enforcement lien grew to $422,277, and the city foreclosed on the property.
City staff recommended that commissioners accept Shuttleworth’s latest offer.
The higher purchase price convinced City Commissioner Charles Paiva.
It would cost the city somewhere in the neighborhood of $160,000 to fix up the building, which is not a “viable” option, Mayor Bob Apgar agreed.
“We have a buyer willing and able,” the mayor said.
The house’s roof is full of holes and is leaking; the wood-frame structure is termite-infested, the heat-and-air system has been vandalized, and the building has sagging floors and a host of other problems, including the need for new electric service.
City Commissioner Phil Martin, who cast the sole dissenting vote against the sale, preferred that the city demolish the house and save the land for a future major Downtown DeLand development that could incorporate adjoining property and possibly even the old county jail building nearby.
City Commissioner Vonzelle Johnson said he’d never been in favor of the city being a landlord. He favored the sale.
City Commissioner Leigh Matusick questioned whether it might be better for the city to keep the property, raze the house, and use the lot for parking.
Assistant City Manager Dale Arrington said, without variances, the lot could accommodate 12 parking spaces; with variances, maybe 20. Matusick then voted to approve the sale.
The sale won’t go through until a sales contract is drawn up and also approved. That could be sometime in July or August.
Buyer Shuttleworth owns Florida Victorian Architectural Antiques, including the space next door operating as Cafe da Vinci. Both the businesses, at 112 W. Georgia Ave., share a rear property line with the house on West Howry Avenue.
Shuttleworth told The Beacon he has a vision for restoring the Victorian-era house.
He would like to design the first floor, which has seven distinct areas, to accommodate design businesses and “interesting craftspeople” in a cooperative of some sort, with gallery and studio spaces.
Two residential apartments are planned for the upper floors.
Shuttleworth also wants to open up a covered walkway from the Georgia Avenue property to the Howry house, so there will be access all the way from Artisan Alley to the house.
That pedestrian corridor, Shuttleworth said, would be an asset during Artisan Alley’s Fourth Friday event and other gatherings, and could also be used by Cafe da Vinci patrons.
A lot of work will be needed to bring the house to that point.
First, Shuttleworth said, he will need to jack up one side of the house to work on the foundation. Then, he’ll have to deal with the termites, a new roof, and other work the house needs.
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