Franklin Park Trolley Barn Property Sold
The three acre site at the corner of Oak Street and Kelton Avenue in the Franklin Park neighborhood — home to six deteriorating brick buildings once used to store and repair trolleys — has a new owner.
Brad DeHays, who opened Rehab Tavern in Franklinton and has been working with the city on an affordable housing development Downtown, is the new owner of the property. The purchase of the site from Minnie McGee (who bought it in 2003), follows many years of legal wrangling and neighborhood complaints about the condition of the structures.
DeHays declined to comment on his plans for the site, saying only that he imagines it will take some time to determine the right course of action for the unique property.
James Flannery, President of the Franklin Park Civic Association, has been involved in many of the recent discussions, neighborhood meetings, and hearings on the site. He was able to provide responses to some questions on the property and his thoughts on its potential redevelopment.
Q: Are you hopeful that Brad DeHays can succeed in developing the property where others have failed?
A: The Franklin Park Civic Association and residents of our neighborhood have long recognized the potential of the historic complex and we are thrilled with news of the sale. A partnership that includes community input and investor capital has every chance to succeed.
Q: What are your thoughts on the condition of the building and the amount of work necessary to rehabilitate it?
A: The residents of Franklin Park and the Near East at large are no strangers to saving historic properties thought by some as beyond hope. Our dedication to the preservation of the historic fabric of our neighborhoods is evident. We have transformed many endangered structures into showplaces.
The complex is in distress and adaptive reuse is no small undertaking. A reasonable time frame for Mr. DeHays to address concerns impacting the health and safety of our residents is to be expected, but immediate action to stabilize the structures is absolutely critical. We would gladly review our concerns with the new owner to assist in development of plans to remedy.
Q: Any thoughts on what you or others in the neighborhood would like to see done with the property?
A: A mixed-use development really seems to be the only option that would be economically feasible and our formal position on the complex encouraged that approach. The complex was instrumental in the settling of our neighborhood and it appears that Mr. DeHays shares our vision to preserve this piece of our history for future generations. A high-quality development will make the Trolley Barn Complex a point of pride for the Franklin Park neighborhood.
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