Buena Vista home demolished
A wrecking crew on Friday demolished this home at 2413 Buena Vista Avenue to make way for a parking lot for a planned retail development on the adjacent Cavanaugh Motors property on Park Street.
The City Council had approved the demolition in March 2009 with the request that the home’s owner, Bill Phua, seek out someone else to take the home and that he obtain a building permit for his retail project before taking down the home, as preservationists had requested.
Preservationists and neighbors had asked city leaders to save the 1890 Queen Anne cottage, which was on the city’s historic study list. But business leaders on Park Street said it was standing in the way of their efforts to revitalize Park Street north of Lincoln Avenue.
City officials confirmed the property owner pulled the permits needed to do the work and they said that while some were surprised by the demolition, no additional advance public notice was required.
Planning Services Manager Andrew Thomas said the building’s owner had tried for several years to find someone to take the home; he said someone in Napa had shown an interest in the house but found it would be too expensive to move. On the night the council approved the demolition, Phua said he had offered the home free on Craigslist, and city staff said they had also looked into moving the home to the old Island High School site on Eagle Avenue.
Thomas said efforts to find a taker for the timber were unsuccessful due to the lead paint used on the home.
The city requires a review by the Historical Advisory Board before demolishing a home built before 1942, but in this case the board demurred, saying they weren’t sure that deciding whether to remove a home for economic reasons was within their purview. The council voted 4-1 to allow the demolition, with Doug deHaan casting the lone “no” vote.
Phua’s Park Vista Plaza project was okayed six months after the demolition was approved, in October 2009, after two years of work with the city. He hopes to break ground on the restaurant, retail and office complex in April, said Barbara Price, a consultant working on the project.
The parking lot on Buena Vista will hold 17 of the 50 parking spaces for the project.