Monday, November 25, 2013

Preservation Potentials: Green Castle Hotel

Very excited to present the latest Preservation Potential! A once lovely 1880 building chock full of history and potential is up for sale. The building has been under threat of demolition and this could be a chance in a lifetime to save it whilst investing in this historically scenic gateway into Woodbury. Situated on the corner of Cooper and Railroad, the former Victorian-era hotel built by a 5-term mayor, Lewis M. Green is located across from a successful cafe-style restaurant and a few steps from the active Priya art gallery! It will also be nearby the planned light rail stop which is in development now. The building needs some restorative work but the bones are good! The potential is enormous! This spot would be an amazing coffee shop, arts center, museum, storefront, bed and breakfast... you name it! Original exterior window shutters as shown on the photo below are currently stored in the basement. Available grants for restoration funding are available to non-profits. Also because the property is a contributing building in the New Jersey Register of Historic Places' Green Era District potential grant aid is available. More information HERE.

From the listing: The subject property is a combination two and three story building with a partial basement. The Owner has authorized the sale of the building, subject to the City of Woodbury approving a formal minor subdivision plan creating a lot with the building on it of approximately 45' x 90'; this will result in a non-conforming lot requiring a variance(s). The Owner will consider a license for the land retained by the Owner for a buyer's adjacent on site ingress and egress as well as parking use under terms and conditions to be determined by the Owner. The building contains approximately 24 rooms with various bathrooms and kitchen areas. The total estimated gross building area is 5,348 SF. The building is in need of complete restoration and remodeling both inside and out. It is the intent of the Owner to have the building restored by and investor or user. The proposed sale is part of Block 118 Lot 27. Real Estate taxes would be determined after an approved subdivision. Located in the Historic District.

Offered at $250,000! 

Full listing HERE.

For the back story visit HERE and HERE.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Geography of Nowhere

American artist, R. Crumb's "A Short History of America" from 1979. He moved to France in the 1980s.
In 1993, James Howard Kunstler wrote his landmark book, The Geography of Nowhere. I hope we are beginning to wake up to the issues he presents, but I fear many of us still "evince complacency." Twenty years on, his words are still poignant:

"Eighty percent of everything ever built in America has been built in the last fifty years, and most of it is depressing, brutal, ugly, unhealthy, and spiritually degrading – the jive-plastic commuter tract home wastelands, the Potemkin village shopping plazas with their vast parking lagoons, the Lego-block hotel complexes, the ‘gourmet mansardic’ junk-food joints, the Orwellian office ‘parks’ featuring buildings sheathed in the same reflective glass as the sunglasses worn by chaingang guards, the particle-board garden apartments rising up in every meadow and cornfield, the freeway loops around every big and little city with their clusters of discount merchandise marts, the whole destructive, wasteful, toxic, agoraphobia-inducing spectacle that politicians proudly call ‘growth. "

The newspaper headlines may shout about global warming, extinctions of living species, the devastation of rain forests, and other world-wide catastrophes, but Americans evince a striking complacency when it comes to their Everyday environment and the growing calamity that it represents.

I had a hunch that many other people find their surroundings as distressing as I do my own, yet I sensed too that they lack the vocabulary to understand what is wrong with the places they ought to know best. That is why I wrote this book."

The 20th Anniversary Edition is now available as an eBook.


To sum it up... for the future of America... we need more of this:

Average European commerce. Image credit: HERE

and MUCH LESS of this:

Average American commerce: the geography of nowhere. Image credit HERE