Preservation talk turns to hunt for someone to procure Coquina residence

After a lot of patronizing from the St Augustine City Manager’s office, Historic City News learned today that crow will be eaten as the City admits that there is no “historic preservation plan” that they will employ that offsets the potential liability of the nearly 75-year-old wood-frame termite trap acquired as part of the Coquina Avenue land grab earlier this year.

Still clinging to the fantasy, the City propaganda machine wrote, “The cottage appears to be in good shape making it an ideal candidate for preservation or relocation” yet they can’t make it work themselves after spending more than $459,000 to buy it.  In fact, if you’ll remove it from the property, the City is offering a $5,000 “stipend” as assistance; ostensibly their professional estimate of the approximate cost to demolish it in place, which is now the apparent alternative. And, to show you just how generous they can be with other people’s money, the City will waive the applicable building permit fees.

In their announcement, they say, “As part of its recent purchase and development of 91 Coquina Avenue, the City of St. Augustine is requesting proposals from interested parties who wish to procure and relocate the Meldrim Cottage, a residential structure which currently exists on the property.  Acquisition includes the structure only and does not include any portion of the lot on which the structure exists.”

The cottage is offered caveat emptor; in “as is” condition without warranty.  No value has been assigned.  You’ll want to obtain an impartial asbestos and lead-based paint survey; and, while you’re at it, better see about the cost of treatment and an enforceable termite bond.

As in many real estate transactions involving the City, they want to tell the grantee how to spend their money after the sale.  Although they can’t put our money where their mouth is, they have expressed the City’s strong desire to “have the house relocated and preserved”.  Of course, if that pipedream were feasible, they would be doing it themselves.  Additional expenses or fees associated with structure relocation, including applicable insurance, shall be the sole responsibility of the acquiring party.

Proposals are due no later than June 28, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. EDT.  Please contact Corey Sakryd, Grant Administration Coordinator at (904) 209-4306 or to apply.

About the property:

The one-story cottage is wood frame construction with 960 square feet of interior space divided into a parlor room, kitchen, office, bathroom, and three bedrooms. A front porch projects under a flat roof creating 146 square feet of covered area and a rear porch adds another 128 square feet.

Significant details include the ship lap siding, wood windows, decorative exterior woodwork, coquina concrete pier foundation, horizontal wood paneled doors, and pecky cypress and pine tongue and groove interior paneling.  The roof is framed with heart pine members visible in the attic.

Wood materials of the exterior siding, roof framing, pecky cypress and pine paneling, wood flooring, and windows appear to be in exceptional condition.  Exterior elements and the wood flooring need sanding and renewed protective coatings.