Neighborhood association tries to save historic home - Tucson News Now

Neighborhood association tries to save historic home

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Residents with the Rincon Heights neighborhood association tell Tucson News Now, a new student housing project is in the works in their neighborhood, and some historic homes will be demolished to make way for the buildings.

Residents were particularly concerned about the fate of 1300 E. 10th Street, a home built in 1897.  Laura Tabili with the neighborhood association said it was one of few adobe structures left in Tucson, and it was also the second oldest home in their neighborhood. 

The group worked for seven years to get a historic neighborhood designation.  To keep that title, neighborhood association president Colby Henly said more than half the homes in the neighborhood had to be considered historic.

"Each house that's taken away, it chips away and erodes away at the historic character of the neighborhood," said Henley.

The residents turned to Ward 6 Councilman Steve Kozachik for help.  Kozachik said he had been meeting with residents and the developer to try and save the property.

"This thing was built over 115 years ago.  I looked inside the place it's got some really cool amenities.  I can't believe the guy would be taking a bulldozer to it."

We contacted the real estate broker Jarrett Reidhead with Pinnacle Realty Investors LLC.  Reidhead said he had no idea the home was so historic when he purchased it.  He said he really liked the neighborhood group and had tried to work with them.

Reidhead said he had a $500,000 loan on the property, and a $5,000 a month carrying cost.  He had offered neighbors a three week grace period to come up with a buyer or someone who could take over the cost. 

"I think we're still hoping for a hail Mary pass," said Henley.

The project is the latest in a wave of new off campus housing units popping up downtown. 

Dana Robbins-McMurray, with the office of Residential LIfe said the dorms on campus were "fairly" full.  She added that with the new high rise dorms being built around campus, there would be an addition of about 3,800 new beds around campus. 

They encouraged students to live on campus for their freshman year as studies show that they did better in school.  Some students said they were eager to get off campus for more freedom and privacy.

Kozachik said he would do what he could to stall demolition of the historic home, which was scheduled to take place on Thursday.

Late Wednesday evening Kozachik said he received word that demolition would be stalled pending assessment of hazardous materials on site.

"Frankly I have called the city to follow up and make sure he's got all his abatements in terms of hazmat, whether its asbestos, or lead, or mercury, whatever might be found in the property,  just to slow this process down," said Kozachik.

Jarrett Reidhead, the real estate broker said he wanted to be a good neighbor and felt bad about the resident's concerns.  He said he was shelling out $5,000 a month in carrying fees for the properties.  He was also willing to modify the design of his student housing project to make sure residents had more privacy.

Reidhead added that his projects were in an area zoned for high density residential housing.

The plan calls for building eight 4-bedroom housing units, according to Steve Kozachik.

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