Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Broadway Designation

The Fort Wayne Common Council tied their vote on S-07-05-03B, listed as "AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance Number G-10-84 dealing with Historic Preservation Districts".

This ordinance deals with the historic 1000 block of Broadway, of which Scott Greider, William Lupkin and St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church are property owners.

Since the vote tied, at the absence of John Crawford, the historic designation will not be taking effect on the Broadway properties.

Tim Pape
Don Schmidt
John Shoaff
Tom Smith

Tom Didier
Tom Hayhurst
Glynn Hines
Sam Talarico


Scott Greider said...

Very sad.

John B. Kalb said...

Very,very sad - can't it come back up when all 9 councilmen are present?

Scott said...

surprise, surprise. Let me guess they are going to build another parking lot. Just what we need. It's kind of hard to improve economically if you tear all the buildings down. Boo especially to Sam T. Jr. for voting against this. Continued idiocy of the people of Fort Wayne. Maybe we will try to tear down the buildings on Columbia St. to build more parking there. Genius.

Rachel said...

This vote is very strange when I consider who voted for and against Harrison Square. Are the councilmen for or against downtown development? I'm a little puzzled.

brian said...

Good comment Rachel.

I was just wondering the same thing myself.

Scott Greider said...

I could only speculate on the motives of the Councilmen, so I won't. But I am very shocked and perplexed. I mean from a distance, at least, it doesn't make any sense.

Regardless, I wonder if everyone is aware of exactly what this means? Having just spoken tonight with Don Noland from SJLC, I'll tell you exactly what he told me: the two southern buildings will be razed within the month and be sodded in time for the start of school in August! That's right - two more historic buildings gone and replaced with grass. And in this case, as in so many others around FW, it will remain grass for a long, long time.

You see, contrary to recent editorial inferences, SJLC is neither planning nor even able to consider expanding their facilities at the present time. Indeed, they're not even remotely close to considering such an endeavor. Razing the buildings is not about preparing to build, but simply about removing the unsightly and deteriorating buildings from the view of current and potential school children and their parents, who, apparently, hightail it the other way when they notice those building during school orientation.

How do I know, you ask? One, I've talked to the church and, to their credit, they've been very candid. Two, when my building - 1010 (the white one) - was listed on the open market in December for $115K (we settled on $95K), the church didn't even call the broker, let alone make an offer! Having spent years on the goal of obtaining all the land for future expansion, when the 8th lot of 9 finally came up for sale, they had to pass because they didn't (don't?) have the money! And if they don't have the money to even buy all the properties, how in the world would they have the means to build a multi-million dollar facility?

The point is, though the church's desire to grow and expand might be laudable, it's simply not probable. And not mainly because other property owners stand in their way. Rather, it's because, even if they owned all the land - even if Bill and I essentially gave them our properties! - they're not now and might never be (if national and local trends for urban mainline churches are any indication) in a position to achieve their expansion goals.

Nevertheless, get ready to say goodbye to two historically significant buildings (sorry, JG) and say hello to more grass downtown. Say goodbye to less density and less opportunity for small-scale businesses to find affordable and interesting spaces, and say hello to emptiness and loss.

And for what? Good intentions? Ah, you know what they say.

PS - The church claims the buildings are not and could never again be commercially viable. That years and years of failed businesses prove that. I tried to persuade them otherwise, that times they are a changing, and possibilities now exist that haven't before. But alas, to no avail.

barranda said...

Kalb and others,

Isn't your position on this entirely inconsistent with your opposition to the use of eminent domain in the acquisition of property for Harrison Square? I make this post with the caveat that I'm not too familiar with the historic preservation ordinance. However, at first blush, it seems to me that the extension of such a designation is big brother preventing property owners from making certain improvements to their land for their own capital gain.

In fact, I'd speculate that if the owners of Belmont Beverage had a choice between selling their property as they did, or become designated as a historic building, they would choose the former every day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

If my assumptions on the ordinance are incorrect, I welcome any corrections. Thanks.

Charlotte A. Weybright said...

I am truly sorry to see the loss of more buildings downtown. We, on the West Central Board of Directors, sent a letter supporting the historic designation to the City Council members and the Council at Large members.

I, too, wonder how the Council members can talk about revitalizing downtown and then vote for something that will tear down historic buildings.

Scott Greider mentions that the buildings will be torn down and the lots will be sodded over. This removes an eyesore (according to the church), but it is an eyesore that the church let happen.

The church didn't have the money to buy the other properties, they didn't have the money to take care of the ones they already owned, and now they want to do what?

I would love to see more small businesses downtown again. I am sick and tired of big box stores where no one knows who are and, what's more, they don't care.

John B. Kalb said...

Councilor Barranda: I don't see the connection between eminent domain in regard to the Belmont property and the historic preservation of the two buildings on Broadway. First of all, I was not opposed to the lawful use of eminent domain - it is a legal way to proceed - but it was not done for Harrison Square - when this happened, H.S. was only a dream in mayor Richards eye. As you should recall, it was to acquire property to get another hotel to service the "unrealized" potential use of the Grand Wayne.
Our family belongs to another Lutheran congregation which is celebrating it's 140th year in July - Emmanuel Lutheran in the 900 block of Jefferson Blvd. - just two blocks southwest from SJLC. Emmanuel also has held fast to remain in the central city. We, like St. Johns, operate a K-8 parochial school in partnership with St. Michaels on Getz Road. Three years ago, when it became necessary to replace the outer doors on our church, our property committee consulted with the West Central neighborhood and our new doors were designed and custom built to "retain the authentic historic appearance" of the building. You may call this "holding the status quo" but I see this as preservation of a historically significant part of our city. I am also involved with the Wildwood Park neighborhood's application for designation of our homes as a National Historic area.
I don't see any inconsistancy in my position. John B. Kalb

barranda said...


I did not mean to attribute a position to you that is not yours. As you know, this has been quite a lenghty ongoing discussion. Certainly there are many who have taken the position that the use of eminent domain for downtown development is wrong as it encroaches upon a private citizen/business' rights to their property. To the extent that position has been presented, I think it would be inconsistent for those individuals to support the Broadway historic preservation ordinance.

I have no opinion on the ordinace itself. I just think it would be inconsistent to take opposing positions, based on the point made above.

For that matter, I also think it would be rather inconsistent to oppose the smoking ordinance but support the historic preservation ordiance. NIMBY anyone? The smoking ordinance infringes on the way a private business uses his property in a similar manner.