Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Old City Hall for sale again

KMK_0411 ec

THE OLD CITY HALL is for sale again, tentatively listed at $625,000. Democrat photo by Krysten Kellum.

From page A1 | January 11, 2013 | 3 Comments

Last January, the city of Placerville finalized a lease with option to purchase agreement with A.M. Pacific Engineering for the old City Hall buildings at 487 Main St. This January, the buildings are, once again, up for sale.

The buildings, locally known as “catsup and mustard” for their exterior colors, were for sale for about three years before the A.M. Pacific Engineering agreement. The local engineering firm’s plans for restoration of the historical buildings were highly anticipated by downtown merchants and visitors alike. Photographs of the original look of the buildings were posted on the windows to give the public an idea of what they would look like when renovated.

The red Confidence building was built in 1860, housing the volunteer fire department, while the yellow building next door was built by “Emigrant Jane” Johnson in 1861. The buildings share a common wall and housed City Hall and its offices from 1902 to 2005.

The restoration project, a combination of public and private enterprises with the city and the engineering firm working together to streamline the process of  restoration, began with much enthusiasm, but fizzled  when the already extensive damage to the buildings was worse than appeared.

“There is more damage than we first noticed and the lease option agreement fell through,” said City Manager Cleve Morris. “We put it back on the market for the same price, $625,000, but we are still looking at engineering reports and the price may change.”

A crack in the west side of one of the buildings in particular was of issue.

“When they got inside and tore out the dry wall, they discovered that the crack was more extensive than it had looked from the outside and was going to require significant repair, ” said Peter McQuillen of TEAM Realty, the Realtor that brokered the lease/option deal between the city and A.M. Engineering.

“We’re continuing to work on this. It’s going to require someone with experience and mental fortitude,” said McQuillen. “We may have another local contractor who is interested in doing the same type of restoration. The two buildings, the former Confidence building and the Emigrant Jane building have been treated as one building by the city, sharing utilities. Part of the restoration plan was to separate the two buildings and renovate them individually.

“We’re hoping to have something in place by the end of this month,” said McQuillen. “We need to get this up and running. It would be good for the downtown.”

The Mountain Democrat was not able to contact A.M. Engineering for comment.


Discussion | 3 comments

  • francescaduchamp@att.netJanuary 11, 2013 - 11:42 am

    Is there a time when a county will just go in a fix a historical building--have the public help--have them sign waivers--saying they wont sue if hurt...Our country was built on "barn raising"...I bet we have talented people who could do s a shame we dont honor our neighbors on public activities. So much could be accomplished...Habitat for Humanity has shown over and over what working together can do...(heavy sigh--what a waste) In a county where we are suppose to pride ourselves on history--I think we are falling short.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netJanuary 11, 2013 - 11:49 am

    I understand many talented people who have been hired to work on it--are frustrated....but has anyone gone to our seniors--that may have the skills to help...and a real want to work on this kind of project--instead of selling...make it a public project....we have so many visitors that come up to see our town of history....

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  • david coleJanuary 13, 2013 - 12:02 pm

    Ok,lets make it happen. This is the kind of project, if developers, had any concern for preserving Placerville's heritage, they could show a commitment for and not just exploit our county to make a buck. I see county government, our city government and also EID. with new buildings to do our business, but they seem to forget who's business it is their taking care of?

    Reply | Report abusive comment


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