Linden Avenue house bought

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 11, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

The SOLD sign posted within hours after the realtor’s &uot;For Sale&uot; was erected.

But no one in the West End neighborhood or the city’s restoration community seems to know who has the boarded-up 19th-century house at 105 Linden Ave. under contract.


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Last month, the Historic Landmarks Commission stepped in to save the dilapidated house, part of the Mildred W. Sheffield estate, from being razed.

Attorney Joshua Pretlow Jr. went before the HLC in March, seeking the city’s authorization to demolish the structure that city planners called a &uot;perfect&uot; example of Greek revival architecture. If his request had been approved, Robert N. Baker, owner of R.W. Baker and Co. Funeral Home and Crematory, who has first-buy rights on the parcel, had planned buy the building, demolish it, and erect a garage on the property.

At the planning department’s recommendation, the HLC denied the request. Commissioners recommended that attempts be made to sell the house to someone interested in restoring it.

Apparently, that’s exactly what happened.

Within a couple of weeks, Barbara Keyes, an agent with ReMax Across Town, had the house on the market – for a few hours, at least. Nearby residents say the &uot;Sold&uot; sign appeared the same day the original sign was put in front of the property.

Since the sale hasn’t closed, neither Keyes nor Pretlow, who handles the Sheffield estate, would identify the new owner.

Pretlow would only say a partnership – that includes one person with Suffolk ties – is set to close on the property within coming days. The new owner is planning to make improvements to the property, he said.

Nearby residents remain curious about who bought the house.

&uot;It’s been a hot topic among neighbors and at civic league meetings,&uot; said Mickey Boyette, whose South Broad Street property backs up to 105 Linden. &uot;Everybody wants to know who bought it and what their plans are.&uot;

Boyette said he had planned to make an offer on the property, but that it sold before he had the chance to do so.

&uot;When I found it was on the market, it was already sold,&uot; he said. &uot;I don’t have a problem with that…so long as the new guy won’t let it continue sitting the way it is now.&uot;

With the house having become such a community eyesore in recent years, Boyette said he believes many West End residents will go out of their way to support the new owners’ work on the property.

&uot;Any of neighbors will do all we can to help, with watching the house or whatever,&uot; he said. &uot;The new owners should come to a civic league meeting. They could probably even get free labor as far as helping clean up or landscape the house.&uot;

Kay Hurley, secretary of West End Civic Association, said, &uot;I know a lot of the residents have been discussing it among themselves. Everybody’s curious, particularly because it seems like none of the candidates who expressed an interest bought it.&uot;

Mickey Garcia, who recently finished renovating College Court and one of several developers who appealed to the HLC to save the house, didn’t make an offer on 105 Linden.

&uot;I was waiting to see what other people did,&uot; Garcia said. &uot;If no one else had, I would have.&uot;

Charles Parr, owner of Parr Funeral Home, said he too had been prepared to make an offer on the site.