Even in a buyer’s market, this is quite a bargain: a historic home on Ocean Avenue is going for one dollar.
Of course, you can’t expect to move in as soon as the check clears. The buyer will also be responsible for relocating the structure as well as any refurbishments.
The one-and-a-half story house, located at 94 Ocean Ave., is owned by Constandinos Provatos. He has given notice of his intent to demolish the house in order to establish additional parking for the Ocean Pizza Restaurant and Seafood House, which Provatos also owns.
Sandra Chalk, executive director of New London Landmarks, said the organization as well as the Historic District Commission are hoping to find someone to purchase the house before Oct. 8, when a hold order on the demolition expires.
“It’s a wonderful example of a small Greek Revival house of its era,” said Chalk.
The house’s history
According to New London Landmarks, the house was built around 1828. It measures about 20 feet by 43 feet and is clapboard with a brick chimney and granite foundation.
The organization has determined that the house was likely built as an investment by Isaac Thompson, a merchant who helped establish businesses such as the Savings Bank of New London, Union Insurance Company, New London Female Academy, and a ferry company. Daniel Penhallow, a stonemason, was a tenant in the house and purchased it around 1846.
New London Landmarks says the house has historic significance due to its association with a prominent citizen as well as a resident who took part in construction that flourished in New London during the prosperity of the city’s whaling years. It cites architectural significance as well in the Greek Revival features such as corner pilasters and eyebrow windows.
Chalk said the house will likely need a “fairly complete renovation.” The windows are currently boarded up, and a sign on the front door warns that it contains asbestos.
Demolition procedures and relocations
Under New London’s demolition ordinance, requests for demolition must be brought before New London Landmarks, the New London County Historical Society, and the appointed members of the Historic District Commission. If a location is in the downtown historic district, New London Main Street and the City Center District must also be notified.
Chalk said the organizations are not able to stop a demolition, but may request a 90-day stay on the action. She said work during this period can include seeking someone to purchase and move a structure or asking the property owner to retain the building. Chalk said the commission and organizations aim to be reasonable in their use of this delay.
“We do not carry the flag and fight every demolition that comes our way,” she said.
Chalk said relocations of buildings were more common before the use of above-ground utility lines. She said it has also become more difficult to find people to invest in preserving such buildings due to the conditions of the structures as well as the costs of moving and land on which to establish the building.
The Historic District Commission has overseen successful relocations before. The Planned Parenthood building on Franklin Street was the carriage house of the original courthouse on Huntington Street and was moved from that location. A frame Pequot Colony house was also moved to Robinson Street.
Chalk said she also hopes to address the City Council on the demolition ordinance’s time limit, saying the state has extended their own limit to 120 days since the ordinance was passed.
“Seeing a house torn down is heartbreaking, and if we’d had a little more time maybe we could have done something,” she said.
Anyone interested in the property may contact New London Landmarks at 860-442-0003 or firstname.lastname@example.org.