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Owners of Historic Capen House Will Delay Demolition

June 12, 2013 | WMFE - The new owners of a historic house in Winter Park built in 1885 say they'll delay plans to demolish it.

Attorney Trippe Cheek told the Winter Park City Commission at a meeting Monday night that John and Betsy Pokorny would wait an additional 30 days to start tearing down the Capen House on Interlachen Avenue. 

“What my clients have done is decided to allow a period of time to see whether there was in fact a realistic hope of getting the house moved,” Cheek says, adding his clients want to give historic-preservation advocates a chance to present them with reasonable proposals to save the historic home on another piece of land.

The Pokornys plan to build a new home at the current location of the Capen House, but they’ll wait 30 days from the date they receive their expected demolition permit to begin. 

The Capen House was removed from the city’s historic register when it went into foreclosure in 2012, so it is no longer protected from demolition. 

Betsy Owens is Executive Director of Friends of Casa Feliz, a preservation group named after another historic Winter Park home that was nearly torn down. She says the city could do more to save historic buildings from the wrecking ball, such as, “tightening our permitting process for demolitions so that buildings of a certain age or historic significance should go through an extra layer of review. And I believe we need to examine the historic preservation ordinance in the city.”

Meanwhile, Owens says her group is working to get an estimate on how much it will cost to move Capen House.


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