LONGMONT — In a deal aimed at preserving a 124-year-old house, city officials and owners of the Daily Times-Call newspaper have agreed to spend 120 days investigating ways to move the two-story building.
Moving the “Green House” at 320 Terry St. would permit the newspaper to expand its plant but assuage about a dozen angry area residents who say the city is allowing its historic heritage to be gradually demolished. The newspaper has requested a permit to demolish the building.
The Longmont City Council approved the deal on a 5-0 vote at 12:59 a.m today.
The company’s expansion would occur as part of a land swap with the Ahlberg Funeral Chapel, which plans to move its mortuary and crematory to the northwest corner of Fourth Avenue and Terry Street. Under the deal, the Times-Call will work with the city to examine whether the home can be moved, and to find a new home for it.
“My wish is you go the extra mile that you make this come out a win-win for the community,” said Councilman Roger Lange. “Give it your best effort. That’s all I’m asking. Give it you your best shot.”
The property is already zoned for the newspaper’s expansion. Company officials say they want to expand downtown because they have long been committed to the Main Street area, and want to keep the 300 jobs at the city’s heart.
The newspaper has already offered to give the two-story “Green House” to anyone who is willing to pay to move it. There have been no serious takers. Some area residents say they want the building turned into offices or retail space, but want either the company or the government to pay for it. It would cost about $160,000 to make the building suitable as a home, and about double that for a business, according to testimony from Bruce Meyer, an architect with the engineering firm of Landmark Engineering of Loveland.
Movers have estimated it would cost at least $40,000 to relocate the house and none will guarantee that it can be done.
The house was built in 1881, and was home to H.G Beemis, one of the city’s first jewelers. A 1984 survey for the city concluded the home combines Greek Revival and Queen Anne styles, but is primarily Victorian Eclectic. Any building older than 50 years is eligible for landmarking, under the city’s rules.
“It’s a lot older than I am. It is deserving of a home in our future,” said Norma Figgs of 1340 S. Bross Lane. “The Beemis House is a community resource because of its place in our history.”
And Brian Rieck of 410 Terry St. said his family deliberately bought on Terry Street because they prized the historic feel.
“We paid a premium when we bought in Old Town,” Rieck said. “We said you can’t build an old neighborhood. But you can tear them down.”