The fate of the historic Douglass House in downtown Macon may be decided Monday by the Macon-Bibb Planning & Zoning Commission.
The commission’s Design Review Board agreed Monday to recommend denial of an application to demolish the Douglass House at 873 Pine St. The application is now on Monday’s agenda for the commission to consider.
Commercial real estate broker Jim Rollins is representing applicant Lou Patel, owner of D&D Middle Georgia LLC. Rollins said Monday that he and Patel don’t want the house torn down. But he said they were compelled to request the demolition after earlier arrangements to move the house -- made with state Rep. James Beverly, D-Macon; Mercer University and Historic Macon -- did not move along as expected.
“This application is being filed in hopes that the written comments given by James Beverly on behalf of the Community Enhancement Authority and the verbal backup given by Historic Macon comes to fruition,” according to a supporting document filed with the application. “Barring the move of the structure, the new owner, D&D, will have no choice but to demolish the building.”
The Douglass House was home to Charles Douglass, a successful black Macon businessman in the early 1900s who developed and managed the Douglass Theatre for nearly 30 years.
Rollins said during last week’s Design Review Board meeting that the deadline to move the house has been changed twice.
He said he and Patel want a final date the house would be moved.
Patel bought the former Tremont Temple Baptist Church property next door to the Douglass House to build a Dunkin’ Donuts shop. Patel received approval earlier this year from the zoning commission to demolish that building.
The church was razed earlier this year.
Rollins said Monday that after negotiations with The Medical Center of Central Georgia to purchase an alley next to the Tremont property failed, Patel did not have sufficient space for the doughnut shop and the required parking on the property.
Patel bought the Douglass House and agreed at Beverly’s request to donate it to Beverly’s Community Enhancement Authority, along with $20,000 to help move it. Patel said he originally was going to use that money toward demolition.
The supporting document filed with the commission states that the parties agreed the house would be moved by July 15.
However, the cost to move the house is higher than expected, and the moving process takes time and coordination to get it past electric wires and other infrastructure, Beverly said.
Mercer University President Bill Underwood has said the total cost to move the house and renovate it would exceed $600,000.
The P&Z meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. in the 10th floor conference room, Willie C. Hill City Hall Annex, 682 Cherry St.
Other items on the agenda are:
ITEMS DEFERRED FROM PRIOR MEETINGS:
840 High St.: Conditional use to allow a professional office (landscape architect) in an existing building, HR-3 District. Wimberly Treadwell, applicant.
2129 Riverside Drive: Conditional use to allow cargo/utility trailer sales at an existing business, C-4 District. Burt Dodson, applicant.
755 Third St.: Conditional use to allow auto repair (transmissions) in an existing building, CBD-2 District. Gary Keefe, AAMCO, applicant.
2255 Allen Road: Conditional use to allow retail sales (antique shop) in an existing building, M-1 District. Causey & Associates, applicant.
3518 Jeffersonville Road: Conditional use to allow a convenience store with fuel sales C-1 District. Donald Mann, Sutlej Investments LLC, applicant.
548, 552, 560 Cliett Drive: Conditional use to allow a timber harvest (clear cut), R-2 District. Waters & Sons Construction, applicant.
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS:
1275 Linden Ave.: Certificate of Appropriateness to allow exterior modifications, HR-3 District. Pat Wells, applicant.
ITEMS FOR COMMISSION RATIFICATION:
996 High St.: Variance in location/setback requirements to allow a fence, HR-3 District [14-20345]. Brian Johnson, Ashley Miller, applicant.