“House of No Value” ~ 2933 NE Skidmore: The Next Alameda Tear-Down?

9-11 1921 Detail of 915 Skidmore (NE Corner of 30th)

A photo from The Oregonian, September 11, 1921. Built by the Wickman Building Company for the George A. Kettleberg family at a cost of $4,500.

FullSizeRender (11)

January 30, 2016

We were disappointed to read the language of a recent real estate advertisement for the 1921 Craftsman bungalow at the northwest corner of NE 30th and Skidmore.

The 50 x 100 corner lot was recently legally partitioned into two 50 x 50 lots and an allowance made for two houses on what has been (and still is for the moment) a single lot. (Read more about the practice of “lot splitting” and the demolition trend here). Among other things, the ad called out to builders and investors and made it clear this was a tear-down in waiting:

“House of no value. Value in land only.”

This week, the listing broker amended the ad noting that the seller would be willing to consider selling the house as is instead of tearing it down. This is good news. The price moved a bit too in the right direction: now asking $599,900. Last week’s language of “house of no value” was changed this week to this:

“Instant equity with this fixer; hardwood floors; classic floor plan; Seller willing to try conventional financing for full price offer – seller to do no repairs. Or Tear Down and Build 2 new houses! Approved for attached houses!”

AH readers know that old houses do indeed have value, and a multi-layered history that makes them unique and important. Yes, we know that all things (including houses and buildings) do have a life cycle, and that taking care of any older home is an investment. We haven’t had a chance to look around inside the house yet, but old-house-savvy people we respect have and report that yes indeed, it is a fixer with its share of deferred maintenance. But, the bones are solid, and they just don’t make ’em like this anymore.

Know anyone who’s looking for a bargain of an old house, wants to stem the tide of tear downs, and has a fixer upper in them? Time to make that call.

We’ll volunteer to do a full house history study as moral support for any successful fixer-upper purchaser…

Extra note: below is a screenshot from a faithful AH reader that shows a Google Maps street view image of the property from 2011. Our helpful reader reminds us that it’s possible to turn back street view time to see how this property has aged over the last few years. Try it yourself by searching the address and going to Google Maps street view, then drag the timeline bar back and forth to look for changes. Thanks John!

Skidmore House

11 responses

  1. I just saw this house on Redfin for $599,900. It was bought by Metro Homes Northwest LLC in April 2014 for $325,000. This property is in foreclosure and is scheduled for auction on February 5th. I’m sure Metro Homes Northwest put some money into the permits to split the property into two buildable lots, but I don’t think they spent $275,000.

  2. I understand the UGB and the push for density, but it seems to be destroying neighborhoods at an alarming rate and mostly putting money in developers’ pockets. My son’s neighborhood at 50th and Division is like living in a war zone with 80 and 130 unit apartments going up where once there was a single house and a parking lot. It will be dense. Thanks for writing you do on this subject.

  3. This house is in my neighborhood and I have walked by it for years. I used to chat with the woman who lived there – she had such a beautiful garden. It is a very lovely house with a detached garage and in a nice area. After the owners left the house was no longer cared for and started looking run down. I wonder why it is in foreclosure? It sounds fishy. At $325K it would have been a great buy for someone who wanted a place to live. But I never saw it up for sale at that price. Maybe Metro Homes is one of those places that “pays cash for homes”.

  4. What a classic…I am sure that someone could buy this house if it indeed were for sale..STOP THE TEARDOWNS of our history!!! The new ones they are constructing are not up to par with the craftmanship of these older homes!!!

  5. Please do let us know what happens with this house. I sure would like to see someone buy the house and move it off-site if possible, but they would have to find an available lot. This was much more commonly done in the 1940s when there still were some vacant lots (as you also highlight in your “Ramona” post!)

  6. I view neighborhood changes as interesting and often positive. A tear-down is not ipso facto an insult, it’s just society constantly evolving. I enjoy walking our area and comparing the many differences in style between the old established homes and the new ground-breaking designs. Some homes, whatever their age, are of course more aesthetically pleasing than others.

    The visual conception for 2933 NE Skidmore site, as the drawings demonstrate, is disturbing mediocre – lumpy, disproportional. Is there a detailed drawing of the exteriors we could view?

    (also sent to NextDoor)

  7. So is it a tear down? Is there any more information about the fate of this house? It sounds like Margaret is referring to some plans. It would be great to know more details. I live on 30th but about 4 blocks north of Skidmore.

  8. Jeanie – Go to NextDoor Alameda website and scroll down to “Design Revealed for New Development on 30th and Skidmore” – written by Pete Carpenter. The photo of the house also includes three photos of the architectural plans.

  9. Thanks Margaret – but I don’t live in Alameda – although I am only 3 blocks from that house but on the north side of Prescott – and NextDoor is based on address I think. Maybe there is something filed with the city I can find. Are the developers asking for neighborhood input?

    • I interviewed the developers this week and I’m in the process of writing a piece that will appear here on alamedahistory.org over the weekend. Keep an eye out for it.

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