Clarke House could be saved

The Clarke house on Centralia Road could be saved after all. According to real estate attorney, Carrie Coyner, who is now representing the owner, the house could be renovated by a potential buyer.

The current owner, who bought the property at auction, has stated that the house should be razed. The historic house is on the Chesterfield Historic registry and demolishing the house has to be approved by the county’s Preservation Committee and the Board of Supervisors.

Chesterfield’s Preservation Committee ruled in August of 2012 that the house was structurally sound, distinguished, has historic interest, and contributes to the character of Centralia. The committee also stated that it was voluntarily put under the protection of the county and that demolition based on neglect and economic burden would set a precedent, which is not supported by the preservation committee.

“We are working on selling the Clarke house to someone who has interest in renovating it,” Ms. Coyner said. “We do not believe the house is capable of being salvaged as it has been sitting vacant for over four years and has major structural issues. The purchase[r] is exercising his rights to due diligence, and we anticipate an answer on his desire to move forward with the purchase in the coming weeks.”

The house itself is valued at $141,300, but Roger Habeck, of Facilitation Services, LLC, who advised E.J. Spruill, CEO at C.W. Wright, agreed the building is not worth much.  During the bankruptcy auction, C.W. Wright bought the adjoining property, now called Centralia Station LLC, for a sum of about $400,000.

“The place has been eaten up by termites and powder-post beetles. The interior has been stripped of anything of value including all the woodwork,” Habeck said.  I took a person through the house, who said they might be interested in buying. It could take as much as $100,000 to make the house livable, but the lot is over an acre-and-a-half and the property could be divided; taking off a smaller lot that could be sold to [help cover some of the costs].”

So far the preservation committee has been steady and not given approval for the old house to be demolished. Since the purchase of the house by C.W. Wright, it now has plywood covering the windows, and if a purchaser is waiting in the wings and a deal is worked out, the historic Clarke House could be saved.

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