Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New $1.3M Tempe home splits neighbors

[Source: Tony Natale, Tribune] -- A new, $1.3 million house in an old Tempe neighborhood near downtown where most homes are valued between $250,000 and $350,000 is both a blessing and a curse to local residents. However, for its builder, Jimmy Evans (pictured), 40, the house is a gamble that Evans hopes will result in both a bottom-line profit and the start of a building trend he can profitably repeat in other older Tempe communities. After Evans sought and won approval from Tempe to build the comparatively expensive home, residents of the area — with Evans’ encouragement — sought and won approval from the city and the Historic Preservation Commission to be declared an official historic district. In historic districts, builders are restricted from erecting homes, condos, apartments or other dwellings that do not meet historical or cultural requirements. For example, they can now build only one-story houses that architecturally blend with the surrounding ones.

Today, Evans’ new one-story house stands at 610 W. Third St. and is among 20 others along a cul-de-sac at Third and Roosevelt streets. It is also the newest home in the newly created Roosevelt Addition Historic District and the only one bearing a for sale sign. “I pushed the movement toward establishing an historic district because, like the people who live in the neighborhood, I, too, didn’t want developers to come in and build condos or high-rises,” said Evans, owner of J Evans Construction, who lives with his wife and two children in Ahwatukee Foothills. Not everybody in the neighborhood agrees. “It’s not the kind of home I think should have been built here,” said Mike Wood, who lives at 624 W. Third St. “This is an old neighborhood with old homes, and I think the new home looks like a giant 'McMansion’ that just plopped down out of the sky.” Wood admitted that until the home was constructed, neighbors were delaying any action toward seeking historic identification. He agreed that establishing a historic district was beneficial toward restricting developers from building high-rises.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Bettina Hansen, Tribune.]