A nonprofit group that has been working for 10 years to save abandoned homes in Davenport's historic Gold Coast neighborhood has taken a new rescue tactic with a house at 406 W. 8th St.
The house had been foreclosed on by Wells Fargo Bank and was on the market for about two years when members of the Gateway Redevelopment Group approached the bank with a plan.
How about if the redevelopment group took possession of the house and tried to find someone willing to take the house basically for free — $2,000 to be specific — with an agreement to fix it up?
The bank agreed to donate the home, and now the redevelopment group is seeking applications. An open house will be 1-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, May 17-18, for anyone interested in seeing the inside and further inspecting the house.
The redevelopment group's goal is to see the home restored as an owner-occupied, single-family residence.
"This is the first such arrangement we have made with a financial institution," said Jack Haberman, a neighborhood resident who spearheaded the formation of the redevelopment group 10 years ago.
Haberman estimates the house could be made sound for about $50,000.
Of that, a new foundation and a new roof would require about $15,000 each, and other work would take $20,000. The "other" would include the return of the front porch to an open configuration, removal of window air conditioners, replacement of inappropriately sized windows, and completion of interior work and floors.
And for another $50,000, "it could be really nice," Haberman said. "It's very bright inside and has a tower with great vistas of the city."
The 2,400-square-foot-home was built about 1898 in the Queen Anne style of architecture with 1915 Craftsman additions, including stucco siding and a front porch.
The house was built for Henry Brandt, a German immigrant and artist who opened a photography studio in Davenport. At some point the home was made into at least three apartments, with the transition back to a single-family residence beginning in the late 1990s.
Several different owners have worked on the home, but it hasn't been occupied for at least 15 years, Haberman said.
Because the price of the home had fallen to $19,000 during the time it was on the market, members of the redevelopment group were concerned that someone would "buy it and live in it until it fell down," he added.
If no one steps forward, the redevelopment group's Plan B is to build a new foundation and install a new roof itself, and then try again to find someone to finish the work.
In past years, the redevelopment group has been directly responsible for restoring two structures slated for demolition, the Jipp House and Grocery at 732 Gaines St., which is now an architectural rescue shop and apartment, and a home at 822 Gaines.