‘Old is new’ for owners who tear down and build to suit their needs

Some people will buy an older home they don't like, demolish that structure and build a home to thei

Some people will buy an older home they don’t like, demolish that structure and build a home to their liking on the same lot.

They love the location but not the older home and are willing to pay the price.

This is what is happening on Greenfield Avenue between State Street and Woodlawn Avenue in the fashionable northern end of Saratoga Springs.

Bella Home Builders Inc. is building a three-story Victorian-style home at that location after an older raised ranch was demolished.

The home buyers, both young professionals, are relocating from Miami to Saratoga Springs.

David DePaulo, president of the Saratoga Springs-based Bella Home Builders, said the older home was taken down last fall.

“It was a 1970s raised ranch. It didn’t fit the area at all. It stuck out like a sore thumb,” DePaulo said.

This part of Saratoga Springs, just a block or so west of North Broadway, includes many stately, historic homes.

Robert Flansburg of Dreamscapes Unlimited designed the Victorian-style home complete with a turret, four bedrooms and an exterior of real granite.

“I’ve had two calls in two days [from people] who want to build in that area. They want an elegant home with the look of yesteryear,” DePaulo said.

“Old is the new new,” DePaulo said.

He said some of his clients don’t object to the cost of buying the older home, having it demolished, and building a brand new home with an “old” look.

The cost to have an environmental safety firm come in and test for asbestos and lead before demolition and then have the home demolished was $25,000.

DePaulo said he donated as much of the usable pieces of the old home, such as doors and windows, to Habitat for Humanity. All the copper and aluminum from the old home was recycled.

The elegant new home being built on the lot will be in the $800,000 range, according to DePaulo.

Stephen Shaw, the Saratoga Springs zoning and building inspector, said he does not often see people buying homes just to demolish them and build a new structure on the lot, but it does happen.

He said he is called more often to inspect homes where a portion of the structure will be demolished and be replaced with a new wing, a garage, or a deck.

There have been other cases where older homes in the city were leveled so new ones could be built on the site.

Some years ago at least two small ranch homes on Fifth Avenue on the city’s East Side were demolished and new, larger homes were built in their place.

Shaw said in these cases the homes at different locations on fashionable Fifth Avenue were old ranch-style structures that would have been difficult to renovate and enlarge.

“They want a different design [for their home] but like the location and lot,” Shaw said.

Shaw said he has seen many cases in the city where homeowners want to demolish part of a home to return the home to its original, and in some cases historic, appearance.

Linda LeTendre and her husband, Volney LaRowe, demolished their older, dilapidated house on Greenfield Avenue a decade ago and replaced it with a more fitting structure.

“We worked to make it fit into the neighborhood,” LeTendre said.

LeTendre said the old home, which she described as a farmhouse, belonged to LaRowe’s parents, who weren’t able to maintain it as they grew older and LaRowe’s father died.

She said the old house had no real period character or style lines. When the old house was demolished in 2001, the neighbors were pleased, she said.

Her home is near the new Victorian home being built by Bella Home Builders Inc.

DePaulo said he is pleased that the new home now under construction will be part of this fall’s Showcase of Homes. Bella Builders Inc. has won Showcase of Homes awards in the past.

The new home will be finished in August and the owners, whom he preferred not to name, will move in then. He said the young professionals can transact their business as well in Saratoga Springs as Miami.

Bella Home Builders Inc. recently purchased an old Victorian building at 228 Church St. and are renovating that 4,000-square-foot structure for offices. DePaulo said his people are saving as much of the old molding, trim and stained-glass windows as possible.

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