City Plans To Renovate Abandoned Homes Instead Of Tearing Down - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

City Plans To Renovate Abandoned Homes Instead Of Tearing Them Down

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A four-unit townhouse at Studer Avenue and Forest Street on the southeast side was given up for dead.

The bank that owned the townhouse abandoned it, and like the other 900 properties in the city of Columbus' land bank, it was destined for a date with a backhoe, crane, or wrecking ball.

But Columbus saw something at the location. Structurally, the building was fine and fit in with the neighborhood.

The city put on a new roof, renovated the front of the building, and inside it is stripped down to the studs.

The city spent $30,000 on the renovation, and officials said they hope to get at least the same amount from the building.

"Typically, what we'll do with the city land bank is get a property, tear it down and sell the land. In this case, we got a building where we think we got a lot of potential," said Steve Schoeny, Columbus development director.

That is rare in vacant and abandoned homes, and the city will soon do the same with others.

There are still more repairs needed, and it could cost nearly $100,000 between purchase price and additional upgrades. For example, the back porch is falling down.

But it is in better shape than most other properties on the list, and the city is hoping to find an investor.

Is it a good idea to invest city money into something the private sector has decided not to get involved with?

"You know the private sector has taken a pass on buildings like this repeatedly. So what the city needs to do is come in and get access to these buildings, get ownership of these buildings and turn them around and fix them up," said Schoeny.

There are other properties already in the plans.

Another building on Champion Avenue is the next to be renovated after, Schoeny said, the bank that owned it planned on tearing it down.

He said the city convinced the bank to give the property to the city and instead of tearing it down, the city will be building it up.

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