Apr 7, 2014

Another Dollar House is in Safe Hands on the East Side

It’s official you can add another save on the near east side due to the homestead program by the City of Buffalo. I’ve posted about this beauty on Masten Avenue once before and since then my inbox has been inundated with emails inquiring about purchasing the dollar house and rehabbing it. One of the people to get in touch with me has gone the distance and the home now has a new owner in Robert Galbraith.
A native of East Aurora, Rob moved to Buffalo a few years ago and is a founding member of the Farmer Pirates CooperativeThis east side agriculture co-op was created two years ago to secure land for the future growth of east side urban farming. If you're keeping track, Rob is the third homesteader to come from East Aurora originally in addition to Matt Newton at the Lyth cottage and Mike Raleigh at 26 Woodlawn. David Torke at fixBuffalo was instrumental with those two acquisitions. 
In addition to his work with Farmer Pirates, Rob started the Michigan Riley Farm in 2011 with a series of vacant lots purchased at the 2011 In-Rem auction. "We will be growing a lot more intensively with aims to sell at the Foundry Second Saturday sales and from a stand on the premises. We've also partnered with Art Farms who will soon be installing a large picnic table in the shape of a tree on the corner of Michigan and Laurel. The idea is for the tree to be a space for people to gather and enjoy the farm and it will be surrounded by decorative and food-producing plantings," said Rob.
Although apprehensive at first to the idea of a fixer upper, Rob spent a lot of time with Mike at 26 Woodlawn assisting with the rehab so he has a good grasp on what it takes. After several failed attempts at the In-Rem auction due to rising prices, Rob spotted this place and was hooked. "I felt really let down after the auction, but I saw this house on your blog and it seemed almost too good to be true," explained Rob. "It's right around the corner from where I live now and equidistant to my farm. I also have a friend that homesteaded a house on East Utica and my work has brought me into contact with the folks at the Foundry, who are very DIY-oriented. All of these resources, plus just the quality of Cold Springs as a neighborhood are what convinced me that the homestead program and this house specifically were right for me."
The acquisition process began in November last year, with the official contract from the city arriving on January 21st. With a few hiccups on the city's side of the deal along the way, it took about four months from start to finish. "Regardless of the some mishaps and delays I felt like everyone I dealt with was very professional, kind, and as helpful as they could be," said Galbraith.
At some point the home was converted to a two-family and not very well so Rob will be converting it back to a single family as part of his rehabilitation. The unsightly garage will be removed and extensive gardens will be created in the backyard, maybe even a chicken coop. The house was built between 1893 and 1899 and has several twins throughout the neighborhood. There were a handful more just like it as well, but they have been landfilled in recent years. 
Stay tuned for some updates along the way as Rob begins to start work, his target for move in day is next summer. He pegs the total rehab cost between $20,000 and $30,000, which seems just about right for a house this size and a lot of the owner's sweat equity. Check out my ipernity album here for additional photos of the house and if you have an interest in buying a dollar house, drop me a line at mike.j.puma@gmail.com
Views of Buffalo Ipernity      -     fixBuffalo     -     The Atlantic Cities     -     The Urbanophile
NTHP Blog     -     Congress for New Urbanism     -     Buffalo Historic Districts

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