Free Historic Downtown Home, If You Can Move It

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UPDATE 01.21.11
The City Council yesterday voted 6 to 1 against declaring the Blocker Mansion on the 100 block of 4th Ave NE a historic landmark.

Architectural experts argue that the historic Blocker Mansion's restoration would be too costly (up to $1M just to renovate) but St. Petersburg Preservation believe the home is history worth saving as it was the residence of one of St. Pete's first mayors, Albert Blocker.

A 12-unit condominium building may soon be replacing the house.

New vs. old in St. Pete building battle:


At risk of demolition with plans for a 12-unit condo to rise in its place, St. Petersburg Preservation is hoping someone will take the developer up on the offer of a free house, all you have to do is move it.

Located on 4th Ave N between Beach Dr and 1st Street, this historic Downtown St. Pete residence most recently home to the Russian inspired Yummy Mama's, was the home to A. T. Blocker who served as councilman in 1904-05 and then Mayor in 1910-11.

Built in 1905, it is one of four remaining historic structures located in the 100 block of 4th Avenue Northeast, two of which, Bay Gables and the Henry Bryan House, are designated local landmarks.

Kai Warren of St. Peteresburg Preservation admits it’s an expensive proposition to move the house that’s likely to cost much more than $100,000 citing a colonial moved about 6 years ago from 3rd Avenue North and 3rd St to 8th Ave N and 3rd Street that cost about $130,000. Eventually that house was fully restored and put on the market for $750,000.

As noted in a report by St. Petersburg Preservation:
The Blocker Residence is a prime example of early twentieth century residential development for the upper middle class, and the adaptive use of the city’s housing stock to meet the needs of community organizations during the historic period. The structure is a critical piece of the visual landscape of the 4th Avenue historic corridor, stretching from 4th Street North to Beach Drive North. The loss of this significant structure would negatively impact all the historic resources contained in the corridor.

St. Petersburg Preservation thinks the house is worth saving and is actively seeking support from someone with the cash to do so. Any takers?

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