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Historic Edgewater Home Sold to New Bidder, But Demolition Plans Remain

By Benjamin Woodard | January 28, 2014 6:47am
 The buyers of a Lakewood Balmoral Historic District home plan to raze the house and replace it with a new one.
The buyers of a Lakewood Balmoral Historic District home plan to raze the house and replace it with a new one.
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DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

EDGEWATER — A new family has stepped in to buy a 120-year-old home on Magnolia Avenue in Lakewood Balmoral — but preservationists who wanted to save the home from the wrecking ball shouldn't get their hopes up.

The new owners bought the house at the end of December and plan to carry out a plan similar to that of another family who had plans to buy it: raze the single-family home and rebuild.

"The new owners intend to build a modest, two-story house consistent with the style of the neighborhood that preserves the large yard for children," said Matthew Gallagher, the family's attorney.

The family declined to be interviewed, he said.

Dan Luna, chief of staff for Ald. Harry Osterman, said the family lives near the home, which is located at 5340 N. Magnolia Ave.

Luna said the family agreed they would notify him when demolition was expected to begin.

Lauren Grossman, whose family had been under contract to buy the home last year, said she and her husband received a letter from Gallagher and the new owners, offering to buy the house before closing.

Grossman and her husband had plans to tear down the home after building inspectors told them it needed a new foundation and had extensive termite damage and was "close to impossible" to rehab, she said. But others in the area wanted to see the home saved, and some had even reacted with hostility to their teardown plan, she said.

"Since this was such a personally stressful situation, we decided to take them up on their offer," Grossman said in an email last week.

The home is located in Edgewater's Lakewood Balmoral neighborhood, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Former 48th Ward Ald. Mary Ann Smith was one of the people who came out strongly against the demolition of the home.

Bill Hynes, the co-president of the Lakewood Balmoral Residents' Council, said in November that the opinions coming from the more than 350 households in the neighborhood had been mixed.

"A lot of people would like to see the home stay intact," Hynes had said.

Gallagher said the home was beyond repair and needed to be torn down.

"Its current state is simply too far gone," he said.