Janesville72.7°

Bank forecloses on former Lovejoy mansion

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
November 24, 2009
— The city has adopted a “wait and see” attitude as the owner of the former Lovejoy mansion tries to get his financial house in order now that the property faces foreclosure.

Wells Fargo Bank foreclosed on the property at 220 St. Lawrence Ave., which houses the Ekklasia Foundation. The bank is asking owner Brad Goodrich for $229,763 as of Oct. 8. The loan accrues interest of $78 per day.


Goodrich also owns the former Mercy Manor at 119 S. Parker Drive and has been trying since 2007 to get a loan so he can open an assisted-living facility there. The former Lovejoy mansion and the former Mercy Manor are all on the same block. The city had worked with Goodrich on his plans, and he received a conditional-use permit in 2007. The permit will have to be renewed if he gets funding.


Gale Price of the community development department said Goodrich recently gave Price a letter of intent dated Sept. 2 from a financial institution concerning a $4.2 million loan for the assisted-living project. Price said he has been unable to reach a spokesperson from the financial group.


The foreclosure does not include the former nursing home.


Goodrich, on Monday, said he has funding lined up for the assisted-living center and is hoping to incorporate in that loan the money to pay off the principle on the Lovejoy property.


Goodrich had expected to pay off the principle in a year, he said. When he didn’t get a HUD loan, the bank gave him six months to refinance. It is hard these days to find a bank willing to loan money to a small business, he said.


Goodrich said he had been expecting Wells Fargo to give him a conditional loan.


He has 15 days to move the financing to a new lender.


Goodrich said his troubles are a result of the financial meltdown.


“You go to the big banks that got all of our tax dollars, but they’re really not lending to small businesses,” he said.


Goodrich has been in the news recently for several issues.


Neighbors of the former Mercy Manor were unhappy because of the neglected state of the property. Goodrich has since cleaned up that site.


And historical architecture lovers were horrified late last year when Goodrich began rehabbing the former Lovejoy mansion with historically inappropriate materials and stripping off decorative detail. The home is on the National Register of Historic Places, and Goodrich should have gone before the historic commission to get approval for the work.


The city ordered that work stopped until Goodrich appeared before the commission. Goodrich later was cited after he tore off a small back porch without consent.


Goodrich has since met with the commission and came to an agreement on the rehabilitation, Price said. He still must deal with the porch.


The assisted-living home is cleaned up, as well, Price said. “There’s no law against having a vacant building,” he added.


Said Goodrich: “We finally got on track where we’re all on the same page of colors and design and the use of product. And now this.


“We’re trying. I tell you, we’re a product of this banking debacle.”



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