October 16th, 2010 categories: News and Views
Do we repurpose large homes in St Petersburg and Pinellas County when they don’t sell? Sometimes dropping the price isn’t enough to sell a home (though there’s ALWAYS a price at which a house will sell) because buyers don’t want or can’t afford the maintenance and carrying costs. If large homes are left empty and not maintained, they become a blight on the neighborhood. What’s to be done with them?
This isn’t a new problem; history tends to repeat itself. Look at the large homes in the Old Northeast, particularly those closer to downtown. Many large homes were built in the 1910s and 1920s that later became rooming houses or were divided into several small rental units. Over the past several years many of these have been made back into single family homes – but we’re facing many much larger homes that have been built around the county.
An article from last fall Reinventing the McMansion gave some options, ranging from adding a business use to renting rooms to group facilities. One advantage mentioned for the typical McMansion is that each bedroom typically has its own en-suite bathroom, and perhaps a sitting room or snack kitchen as well. Often there are restrictions from zoning ordinances or subdivision restrictions. My thought is that perhaps the very large homes could be divided into condos or townhomes. As a neighbor, would you rather have an abandoned property, short term rentals, an institution, or homeowners? Often these homes have garages for several vehicles, so dividing the property wouldn’t necessarily mean on-street parking.
Some people believe that when the economy turns around, we’ll return to life as it was. Well, the economy will certainly recover, but I don’t think that means returning to life as it was. If you want to look ahead, I’d suggest reading Richard Florida’s book “The Great Reset“.
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