A vacant Victorian-style house in downtown Jordan has become a headache for owner Barb Kochlin. But she’s making one last-ditch effort to save it from the wrecking ball.
“The city says it’s ugly. I say it’s historic,” said Kochlin, a real estate investor and property manager.
The Jordan City Council has given Kochlin three months to do something about the long-vacant house — sell it, renovate it, move it or demolish it. That’s why Kochlin is offering the house, at no charge, to someone who can pay to move it to another site.
“I waved the white flag,” she said.
The house sits on a historic brewery complex, also owned by Kochlin, that she has been trying to sell for more than a year. The house was moved there in 2002 by Kochlin’s grandmother Gail Andersen, Jordan’s first female mayor.
“She had an antique store, and her intent was using it as storage,” said Kochlin. “She’d go to auctions, buy antiques, store them in the house, then bring them to the shop.”
Her grandmother spent thousands of dollars renovating the old house but never had it connected to the water or sewer line, said Kochlin, who inherited the house when she bought the brewery complex from her grandmother in 2011.
Kochlin had planned to turn the house into a triplex but the city would require more parking than she can provide. “Parking is my biggest issue,” she said. “I’m between the hill and the highway. You can’t make more parking.”
At one point her former partner had drawings to convert the house into a bed-and-breakfast. “That never happened,” said Kochlin. “That’d be a cool use for the building. But I have no desire to run a bed-and-breakfast.”
She posted the house, valued at $50,000 for tax purposes, on Craigslist, offering to sell it for $5,000, but hasn’t found a buyer. At one point she put a sign in front of it: “Free House — Must Be Moved.” That generated interest but not the right person.
Kochlin doesn’t know what it would cost to move the four-bedroom house, but she figures it will take at least $150,000 to fix it up. “The architecture is pretty outside,” she said, with a turret and some stained-glass windows. “But it doesn’t have Old World charm inside. It’s godawful ugly with a cork backsplash, horrible wallpaper and fake brick — from some era when nobody had any taste.”
Still she thinks it could become a nice home for someone. But she’s running out of time to find that person.
She asked the city to consider rezoning the parcel for a single-family home, but that request was denied because it conflicts with the city’s comprehensive plan for the commercial district.
Kochlin can’t understand why the city allowed her grandmother to move the house there in the first place. “That’s what’s so frustrating. She was old, and the city let her do it. Now it’s my problem. Hopefully someone can find me.” Interested parties can email Kochlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.