Preservation for preservation’s sake
Not every building is worth saving.
There. I’ve said it. Let the bile flow!
Someone recently posted an article on Facebook about the demolition of a house in Dallas’ Bishop Arts area. And without fail, comments started coming in about how terrible this would be for the neighborhood. How the fabric of the area was being ruined. Etc. Etc.
However, some helpful wag was good enough to point out that not every building can be saved or is worth saving. (And no, it wasn’t me.) And they had a point.
We watch all the time in Dallas buildings being torn down that shouldn’t. Either for their place in Dallas’ history, or as happens with homes here, for their connection to a Dallas architect. A lot of times, these buildings are still in good condition and with a little TLC could be restored.
One home recently razed by the buyer was done so he could turn around and put the site up for sale. He never wanted the house. He just wanted the land.
However, sometimes the best option is to just pull the plug.
At some point, renovation of a house just does not make sense. Either the overall condition is too poor. Or there is a fundamental issue that cannot be overcome without great expense. More than what the house is worth.
The house in Bishop Arts could have had a bad foundation, asbestos throughout, lead paint everywhere (given its age, most likely), bad electrical, and no air conditioning. Start putting numbers to those and you realize you’ll never see your investment come out of the house.
But the neighborhood fabric!! Oh baloney. That fabric started disappearing when the neighborhood became a popular spot for funky shops and cool restaurants.
My neighborhood abuts an area of Dallas where residents were posting signs about keeping the neighborhood funky. Asbestos shingle siding, dilapidated garages, and small footprints do not make something funky. That makes it out of date and ripe for development. And we’re seeing that happen.
I recently had to tell a friend the house he was looking at purchasing was going to eat his lunch. Just walking around you knew that all of the basic systems – electrical, plumbing, and HVAC – would have to be redone, along with most of the subfloor beneath the existing carpet. The result – the investor owner was most likely going to flatten the house and sell the land.
But that’s okay. Not every building is worth saving.
And we need to get used to that.