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Real Estate Spotlight: Historic West Side Home Ready for Renovation

For sale right now on the Buffalo market is 246 Jersey Street, a stately Victorian Gothic on the corner of Fargo. Tipico Coffee’s neighbor was designed for the Sweet family at the turn of the century, a Holmes & Little design situated opposite the former two block Fargo estate. The house remained a single family home until the 1930s, when it became a rooming house for the next 40 years. Since then, it has remained unoccupied, owned by Paul Maine, a champion for Buffalo preservation who wished to restore it to its former glory.

While the exterior has retained the majority of its century old glory, the interior is another story. Converting the building into a rooming house meant compromising many of the decorative elements throughout. Woodwork in the vestibule at the entrance has remained intact, though has been covered up by additional wood framing and plastering.

Rehabbing this home will be a major undertaking, and not without some restrictions. Mr. Maine, who bequeathed the house to PBN upon his death, stipulated that the home could not be broken up into multiple units, and that exposed brick could not exist anywhere inside other than in the kitchen, meaning the stunning fireplaces will need to be covered in plaster.

At nearly 4000 square feet, and 3 stories, the home could easily house 3 families. This property will need a buyer with a big family, or a lot of belongings. Tax credits are available, however. 20% of renovations could be paid for by the State, as the home is part of the Fargo National Register Historic District.

Plumbing and electrical work will be a big expense for the building, as its been left unattended for almost 50 years. Walls on every floor need replastering, or in some instances rebuilding where there are large holes. Another restriction set by Mr. Maine prevents the removal of any interior walls. Whoever buys this property must be a fan of Victorian floor plans, as each of the rooms is completely cut off from the others with a small doorway or narrow hall.

Despite all the work that needs to be done, there is a lot to highlight architecturally. The house has not one, but two dramatic, curved staircases, one with a two story wall of windows running along side it. Ceilings on every floor are high, windows are ornately trimmed, and plenty of antique ceiling fixtures are left. Gorgeous dark, carved woodwork in the vestibule at the entrance has remained intact, though it has been covered up by additional wood framing and plastering. Fireplaces need significant restoration work done, but chimneys look to be in good shape from the exterior and there is a newer cement roof on the house.

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