Highest and Best Use - Bulldozing History

By
Real Estate Appraiser with Ashcroft & Associates

If you were appraising this house, would you make the assumption that the highest and best use is the current use?  Of course, you would need to know location, zoning, condition, surrounding buildings, etc.... but.... 

 

                   

 

This renowned piece of Portland architecture was torn down to make way for additional church parking in the 1950s. 

The chances that I would have determined the highest and best use for this lot (regardless of where it was located) would be a parking lot would be slim to none.

There were several masterpieces similar to this one in the Portland area which were either torn down to make way for apartment buildings, mid rises or made into multi-unit dwellings in the 40s through the 80s.

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Rainer
174,736
Lisa Orme
The Master's Key Realty LLC -Windsor, CT - HARTFORD COUNTY - Windsor, CT
Broker/Realtor, ABR, CRS,GRI, PSCS, SFR, Notary Pu

Not that I begrudge the church their parking lot, but it really seems a shame to lose a beautiful piece of architecture like that one..

Mar 21, 2011 09:05 AM #1
Rainmaker
154,094
Kathy Opatka
RE/MAX CROSSROADS - Ocean City, MD
Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches

What a waste of a beautiful structure!  I don't think anyone ASKED for highest and best use about this property!  It's gone forever!

Mar 21, 2011 09:10 AM #2
Rainmaker
120,300
Sara Goodwin
Ashcroft & Associates - Portland, OR
Portland, Oregon Appraiser

Lisa - There is a medical center a few blocks away that bought a house where my friend used to live for full market value and turned it into additional parking, too ~  The house was no masterpiece like the Knapp House (above), but it was a livable dwelling that happened to be in the wrong spot.

Kathy - It makes me wonder if the Knapp House was ever registered under the Historical Society.  If so, why couldn't they save it and if not, why wasn't it?

I know the answers lie in this book... which I have.... packed away in storage.  I really need to retrieve it.

Mar 22, 2011 06:36 AM #3
Rainer
241,053
Jesse Skolkin
Independent New York State Certified Real Estate Appraiser - Fresh Meadows, NY

Current laws regarding historic properties are designed to prevent the loss of such treasures.

Mar 22, 2011 11:29 PM #4
Rainmaker
173,450
Richard Glesser
North Country Appraisal Services - Gaylord, MI

1940's - 1980s were marked by abuses (in today's view) in the name of progress.  Post WWII era saw great advances in technology and industry with little regard for the lasting negative impacts in the future - all was thought to be progress with no downside.  Such a shame because, as noted by Jesse, it probably would never happen in today's world, but can never be recovered or replaced.

Mar 23, 2011 06:50 AM #5
Rainer
24,880
Orlando Masis
Appraisal IQ (Real Estate Appraisal) in Austin Texas - Austin, TX
Austin Appraiser, for Real Estate

Very sad to see buildings like these being torn down. We can only hope that more of them will be protected in the future as smart cities and towns realize the community value historic properties bring.

Mar 24, 2011 07:02 PM #6
Rainmaker
120,300
Sara Goodwin
Ashcroft & Associates - Portland, OR
Portland, Oregon Appraiser

Jesse, I think you're correct.  Historic properties have more restrictions, but also are better protected these days. 

Richard - It's ashame that the decades that had the blandest architecture were the decades that were most prone to replace the classics.

Hi Orlando ~  I've seen some pretty reasonable, yet modest houses being torn down to be replaced with townhouses or whatever zoning will currently handle.  Sad.

Mar 29, 2011 04:33 PM #7
Rainer
21,292
Mike Lay
Appraisal House Texas - Austin, TX

I agree, homes like that should be protected!!  But sometimes the local Historical Commissions (or as it is know here in Austin, the "Hysterical Commission") goes way overboard.  A friend bought a house to remodel that had been on the market for a year, was a total junker, no redeeming qualities or architectural significance.  However, the neighbor decided he didn't want all that noise from new construction, so he petitioned the HC that the house should be designated as historical.  The reason?  Back in the 1920's, a "treasured" principal at a nearby elementary school MIGHT have lived there.  Yes, that is all.  And that took over a year to resolve. 

Homes like the one in the picture are pieces of art, and should be kept as such.  But sometimes "old" does not equal "historical".  As my dad says, "they made junk back then, too." 

Mar 29, 2011 04:36 PM #8
Rainer
64,435
Brett Reichel
Homebridge Financial Services - Rancho Cucamonga, CA
MLO 210215

Too bad they didn't move it....

Apr 01, 2011 01:02 PM #9
Rainmaker
120,300
Sara Goodwin
Ashcroft & Associates - Portland, OR
Portland, Oregon Appraiser

Hi Mike - Is there a tax abatement on your historically registered homes? 

We have the most incredible fixer victorian down the street.  A contractor bought it as his primary residence three or so years ago.  Every dry season (about 30 days a year around here) I drive by that monster in hopes of seeing it finally getting a new coat of paint.  I think what is taking the owners so long is the color debate for historical houses.

Brett - There have been several historical properties around here over the years that have been free if not close to free for anyone who would move them to a new location.  I have an old post in regards to an entire neighborhood up for grabs (click here).  I remember the huge road block for the removal of these houses was that they wanted them to stay within one or two miles of their original site.   This is an area that's nearly all built up (or swamp lands).

 

Apr 06, 2011 08:06 AM #10
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Rainmaker
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Sara Goodwin

Portland, Oregon Appraiser
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