Janesville52.1°

Case Feed building still scheduled to come down

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
July 24, 2010
— Hand-in-Hand Historic Fourth has signed an offer to purchase the Case Feed building at 922 Rockport Road, a title company employee said.

Janesville city staff, however, says that's not enough to save the historic but run-down building from demolition.


Gale Price, a member of the community development department, said he is going ahead with plans to demolish the building.


"I have not been presented with adequate material to not proceed under what's permitted by state statute," Price said.


The city in October 2009 issued a raze-and-repair order to the owner of Case Feed. Since then, several parties have looked at ways to preserve the building but either couldn't get financing or backed away because of the cost.


Peter Apted, Hand-In-Hand board member, signed the agreement to buy the property. The closing is scheduled for August, said Rebecca Wollet of Nova Titles.


K. Andreah Briarmoon issued a press release announcing the agreement, which she signed as the real estate agent. She said she has offered to waive her commission on the project.


Apted would not disclose the purchase price or the membership of Hand-In-Hand, which Briarmoon described as a non-profit organization. The website for Hand-In-Hand, www.fourthward.org, indicates the organization's mission is " to aid each person in our neighborhood of every age, race, ethnicity, religion, family structure, and income level to be able to live in a supportive environment of safety, respect, appreciation, pride, and self-knowledge."


Price said that legally the city must continue to work with North American Group of Companies, the Madison owner of the building.


In a June 2 letter, the city offered to remove the raze or repair order if the owner stabilized the building within 30 days so the building could continue to be marketed. The order included boarding up the broken windows, attaching the brick to the building and showing the financial ability to do so. Price figured the cost at about $25,000. The owner never complied with the letter.


Price said he also has not seen a plan to stabilize the building or proof of financing from Hand-in-Hand.


Briarmoon said in her release that the Hand-in-Hand board has permission from the seller to stabilize and secure the building so that the raze-or-repair notice will be removed from the title so the organization can get financing prior to closing.


But in a Catch-22 situation, Price said he cannot remove the order until he has proof of financing.


In her press release, Briarmoon said Hand-in-Hand would ask the city for the needed money. The Community Development Authority already turned Briarmoon down after she requested about $400,000 for the building on behalf of a different buyer. The council also has declined to offer any money.


She also Friday sent a release about recent Hand-in-Hand sponsored clean-up days at the building.


Price said it is "imperative to resolve the matter in short order."


City Manager Eric Levitt, who also had hoped to save the building, said the sidewalk must be reopened to assure children safe passage to Wilson Elementary School. The sidewalk has been closed because of the fear of falling bricks from the building.


Briarmoon was in a similar situation concerning a condemned building in 2006. The city condemned and tore down a carriage barn on property she owned at 1402 W. Court St. She fought that order for years.


Briarmoon was arrested for obstructing an officer the day the city tore down the building.



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