Building Specifications and information for buyers
The building was built about 1870 by George W. Covington, a druggist, who was operating a store across the street at the time. It was built as a store with a residence on the second floor. He had a wife and two daughters. It was built with sturdiness in mind, because the floor was expected to carry a lot of weight; he sold stoves, hardware, nails and other heavy objects. As typical of a store of the day, the ceilings were tall because often merchandize was stored on shelves to the ceiling. The ceilings are 10 feet high. The siding is aluminum, but underneath is the original German clapboard siding in very good condition.
The lot is about one half acre in size. The building stands on the extreme southeast corner of the lot, providing a very large area for parking and an unused grass area in the back. Because there is no public water and sewer in Still Pond, a large empty area is important for well and septic. The Planning and Zoning Office has advised that tearing down the building will result in loss of grandfathered setbacks. If a new building is built, it could not placed on the same footprint resulting in a loss of open area and more limited use of the property.
The building is eligible for up to 40% in State and Federal tax credits if restoration of the existing building is done and it is properly registered before work is started, which is easy because it already lies within a historic district. What this means is that if someone spends $100,000 fixing up the building, they can apply for and receive up to $40,000 in tax credits back from the goverment.
Notes from 2/14/2011 meeting (from Craig O'Donnell)
Dick Wolfson and a friend named Bruce who builds houses got about 2-1/2 hours to go over the building with the owners the other day.
Foundation seems fine all around. There is a 9-foot deep basement, probably granite block walls, the width of the store and halfway back toward the rear wall. Apparently the old well was in the basement and it should be checked for moisture problems.
Floor and floor joists seem fine. Furnace is hot-air, about 15 years old and is undamaged. Front (store) section and post office section are smoke-damaged but otherwise sound. Floor of store appears to tilt toward rear - maybe 6 inches difference in level? Bruce said he didn't know the cause but it wasn't the fire.
Fire damage is really only to the rear shed, which can be removed and rebuilt to hold the things like the bathroom, HVAC, etc. One cornerpost needs replacing on the Main Street side, second floor. Otherwise, rafters and roof sound, only smoke damage and a little charring at the rear.
Second floor has never had electricity; walls are lath-plaster which have been in bad shape for years. (Judging from photos the woodwork is still in place). I don't know if there was ever plumbing upstairs.
There is no insulation anywhere in the building, all wiring will need to be replaced, and plumbing redone. The walls are horsehair plaster, they would best be taken out so the HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems can be taken care of. Heating (or all utility?) bills before the fire were said to be $2,000 a month. Clearly insulation and modern HVAC is needed.
Bruce's "back of envelope" estimate for putting the first floor into basic usable shape was $100K. Least expensive restoration would not include refitting the store with fixtures or second floor income producing apartment. Another $50K to $100K would be involved in creating an apartment upstairs.