Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Stop 32 Granada Street Demolition May 19th

Lee Geanuleas posted in St Augustine Residents Count.
Lee Geanuleas
May 4 at 8:18pm
32 Granada St - A short story

The demolition request for 32 Granada St is on the HARB agenda for the May 19th meeting. 

Mr. John Arbizzani owns 32 Granada as well as the lots on either side. All three lots are zoned Commercial Low Intensity 1 (CL-1). The owner has stated his intentions to build a family dwelling on the combined lots, but we know that intentions and statements on the record have no bearing on what could be developed on the three lots. Only the underlying zoning matters.

On the lot at 32 Granada stands a two story frame vernacular structure built between 1893 and 1899. The structure is not in a historic preservation district, but faces HP-4 directly across Granada St. Although not located in a National Historic Register District, 32 Granada is recorded on the Florida Master Site File as architecturally and historically significant. In 1987, the property’s owner, Don Chapman, tried unsuccessfully to have 32 Granada listed on the National Historic Register as an individual site. His application was intended to save the structure from demolition to allow a city parking lot; a parking lot that was never built. While the State Historic Preservation office (SHPO) denied Chapman’s request, it notes that the failure of St Augustine’s HARB to make a recommendation either for or against was a significant factor in the SHPO’s denial of the application. 

Previous owners include Louise Melville, a widow and retired high-wire artist, Antonio Vedovelli, an artist and laborer, Kenneth Dow (as an investment property), Charles Marston, an antiques dealer who helped Otto Lightner set up the museum across the street and Don Chapman, Marston’s nephew. 

While the previous owners are not historically significant figures and nothing of historical import happened at 32 Granada, the structure itself has retained its original form and likely contains many original materials and finishes. Portions of the existing cedar shingle siding may be the original siding documented on the 1899 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map. Through perhaps a combination of chance, good fortune and benign neglect, 32 Granada St has, amazingly, retained its original appearance. That, alone, makes it worth saving. It should not be demolished.

In its response to the demolition request city staff notes, “Located on the periphery of the city’s most extensive Victorian neighborhood in northern Lincolnville, this structure represents a significant period of St Augustine’s development in connection with the Flagler-ear tourism boom of the late 19th century. The loss of this building would be a detriment to the historic and cultural record of the city and should only be approved if there is no other feasible alternative and/or a financial hardship to rehabilitate, adapt for continued use, or relocate.”

Save 32 Granada St. Let HARB know how you feel. Show up - speak up!

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