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Asbestos Inspection First Step in Demolishing 'Prescott House'

House could be demolished this fall.

The Manassas City Council has set an agenda item for Monday evening's council meeting to budget and appropriate funds to conduct an asbestos inspection at 9300 Prescott Ave.—the first step in the demolition of the abandoned historic home at one of the city's 'gateway'entrances to Old Town.

The move comes after the property's owner did not comply on Feb. 27, 2012, to secure or repair the porch, which was deemed unsafe, in 30 days, and to secure or repair the entire house in 90 days.

City documents show officials have made attempts to contact the owners about the passing deadlines outlined in the motion with no reply. City staff did meet with the owner and an engineer at the property to conduct an assessment in late March, but the city has yet to receive any permit applications for work to be done on the property, documents show. The home's owner also came by city hall on June 6 to receive additional information on the process, but since then no permit applications have been received.

According to city documents, the owner requested access to the home on at least two occasions to "clean" and "paint" but was denied due to the property's "unsafe condition."

City staff also opened the house at the request of Bank of America (BOA) representatives for the purpose of inspection in early May, but there's been no communication from the bank since. since July. City officials decided to allow the bank to proceed with the foreclosure process and repair it or sell it, but little has been done to secure the building. 

Once again, the city said it plans on notifying the property owner's about the next step, which would be to begin the demolition process with an asbestos inspection.

City officials call the decision to demolish the house an "unwanted" one but say the home's owners have left them no choice.

"This was no rush to judgement," Council Member Steve Randolph said. "The city has tried go the extra miles to save the historic property."

Randolph said the first violation issued on the property was Feb. 21 1996. The home meets the state's requirements of blight abatement and therefore the city has the legal right to demolish all or some of the home, according to Manassas City Attorney Martin Crim.

Tentative Demolition Timeline:

July 2012—Asbestos inspection
August 2012—Bidding process for demolition
September 2012—Demolition

Lisa Baxter June 25, 2012 at 09:46 PM
So incredibly sad when so many, including my husband and I, wanted to buy it or help fix it up. So sad.
Maureen June 25, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Once a grand home, now an eyesore! Lisa- I have heard many people inquired about buying the property but the owner wouldn't sell. It is a shame.
All About Real Estate by Susan June 25, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Lisa, i would say there is still time if you really want to purchase.
Lisa M. Castellanos June 26, 2012 at 12:45 AM
Why won't she sell? This is terrible. What was once a 'Grand Dame' greeting people who were entering the town is now going to be demolished. I hope that someone can step in and talk the owner into letting them puchase the house so that a professional can rehabilitate it. Virginia has lost too many beautiful historic homes to neglect. This is just one more and so unneccesarily so.
Erin Gibson (Editor) June 26, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Here's an update from last night's council meeting. The council voted to budget and appropriate $1,200 for the asbestos inspection. Costs associated with the inspection and removal process (if needed) for asbestos and lead paint should be recovered as part of the city's lien on the property.
Erin Gibson (Editor) June 26, 2012 at 05:31 PM
I have heard that people would like to purchase the home, too. But for that to happen, I believe either the owners would have to agree to sell or the bank would have to foreclose on the property—neither have happened so far.
Phyllis Camper June 27, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Banks have been notorious for speedy foreclosures. It's surprising BOA is dragging their feet on this one.
Lora Sharkey July 11, 2012 at 02:07 PM
If the city pays the demolition costs and related items (asbestos inspection), who will the city attempt to collect from for these expenditures? Current owners or Bank of America?
charles November 18, 2012 at 03:18 PM
This home was an eyesore when I grew up there in the 1970s. Hopefully the City will sell it to someone once they or the bank can foreclose. Owner sounds like a whack job.. typical Manassahole. Glad I left that town.

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