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12/26/2017 12:17:00 PM
Hhistoric home in downtown Jeffersonville getting commercial use

Elizabeth Beilman, News and Tribune

JEFFERSONVILLE — The Southern Regional Office of Indiana Landmarks, a statewide historic preservation nonprofit organization, has sold its downtown Jeffersonville property as it prepares to move to New Albany.

Greg Sekula, director of the Southern Regional Office, said the new owner of the historic house on 115 Chestnut Street called the Willey-Allhands House will bring a commercial use to the building.

The local branch of Indiana Landmarks has purchased the Louis Hartman House, a State Street property that hosted an Underground Railroad stop, for its new home. The New Albany house was damaged in a fire in January 2017, and its former owners threatened to demolish it, Sekula said.

Though he wouldn't disclose how much Indiana Landmarks paid for it, Sekula said the offer was higher than its market value price. He believes the organization saved the building.

"Downtown Jeff is well underway in terms of revitalization, and we felt that this would be an opportunity for us to hopefully jumpstart some rehabilitation efforts along the State Street corridor, which is an important entry point into downtown New Albany," Sekula said.

The organization has already raised more than $260,000 locally to rehabilitate the property, $50,000 of which comes from the city of New Albany.

The property is currently undergoing improvements. Until construction is complete, Indiana Landmarks will lease its current Jeffersonville spot from the new owners.

"It's bittersweet, because it's been our home away from home for the past 14 years," Sekula said. "But it's time to move onto another project and save another historic building." 

Indiana Landmarks purchased the Willey-Allhands House in 2003 when it was on Sparks Avenue near Clark Memorial Hospital. The organization rehabilitated the house and moved it to its current location.

The new owner of the property is called 115 Chestnut LLC. Sekula wouldn't disclose who is behind the firm, but he believes the historic house is "in good hands."

Mike Kopp, realtor who represents the buyer, also declined to reveal the identity of the new owner.

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