MOUNT VERNON — It was a tale of fate for two dilapidated single-family homes Friday as the Knox County Land Bank, following an executive session, decided to accept an offer for one property while rejecting another.
Approved by the land bank board was an offer to accept an offer for a fire-damaged home at 244 Newark Road from Ben’s Properties, which plans to invest $100,000 in renovating the two-level house and sell it as a single-family residence. The three-bedroom, one-bath home has the advantage of being among other well-kept homes along Newark Road that are in a good location near Mount Vernon City Schools as well as Mount Vernon Nazarene University, said Jeff Gottke, land bank president. The sale should be completed by the end of the month with closing set in six months. But like all land bank properties, the buyer will have to adhere to conditions such as quality of workmanship, financing terms, and the time frame for improvements and final completion for the final transaction to occur, Gottke said.
The land bank board rejected an application from Bargain Homes, LLC that involved an offer to buy, fix up and then “flip” a two-story home at 304 East Ohio Avenue, a two-story home also located in a nice residential neighborhood, he said, near The Salvation Army building. Gottke did not comment on the specifics of why the offer was turned down, only adding factors such as the invested amount the prospective buyer is willing to put into the purchase, as well as quality of workmanship and other factors, were highly important in the decision. The property at 304 East Ohio Avenue has been a topic of land bank board member interest, after learning that 59,000 pounds, or nearly 30 tons, of debris, trash and miscellaneous items were removed from the premises. It cost close to $2,500 just to clean up and board over the windows, he noted.
“So we’re in it for close to $3,000,” he added.
Another residence the Land Bank is having difficulty finding an appropriate buyer for is at 407 North West Street at the intersection of North Sandusky Street. The four-bedroom, one and-a-half bath home is in generally good shape. But it was “a former drug house,” Gottke said, and despite being in a location near numerous businesses along North Sandusky Street, is not in a desirable location due to drug use in the area. It has been shown to potential buyers three times and none have followed through with an offer.
There is a possibility in the future of asking local skilled trade businesses such as electricians, heating and cooling specialists, and plumbers to “bid” on house improvement work as a donation of philanthropy. Once completed, the fixed-up home could be turned over at minimal cost to a local entity that needs it, such as an agency that provides shelters to those in need of temporary or transitional housing.
But skilled tradesmen in the building profession face a backlog of projects as we near the end of the year, board members heard. Such a philanthropic project involving multiple contributions exists as a future possibility, Gottke said.