Quincy's Newcomb Hotel has made the Landmarks Illinois Ten Most Endangered Historic Places for 2013.
It's no secret that the property at 400 Maine Street is in bad condition. A recent storm left a portion of the east side of the building in collapse and the it has long been marked by the Quincy Fire Department with the dreaded "X", meaning that the vacant building is unsafe for fire crews to enter. Click here for that story.
The Newcomb is in good company on the Landmarks Illinois list. The other endangered historic places include a large wood-frame former resort hotel, a grouping of Chicago bascule bridges, a former home for African-American orphans, a handsome 1880s former hotel, the home of the legendary Blues icon Muddy Waters, two community mausoleums, a rare pre-Civil War Era North Shore mansion, an 1869 settlerâ??s home in the west suburbs, a local miners union meeting hall and Peoriaâ??s last great movie palace. Click here for the full list.
The slow economic recovery, municipal deficits and a lack of available financing continue to challenge historic sites throughout Illinois, Landmarks Illinois says.
â??The sites named to the list are all exceptionally important to not only local residents, but the local economy,â?? Bonnie McDonald, President of Landmarks Illinois said. â??By calling attention to the potential for their reuse and revitalization, we are encouraging job creation and economic development across Illinois â?? something everyone can support.â??
Fixing up the Newcomb Hotel is estimated to cost around 14 million dollars. Bonnie McDonald with Landmarks Illinois says there is a bill in motion that may provide incentive to renovate the hotel. She says the bill would create a state historic preservation tax credit. There is already a federal tax credit of 20% available, but this bill would add another 20 percent through the state tax credit. This could act as an incentive for someone to renovate the building. McDonald says having this renovation project will create more jobs in the area.
Victor Horowitz is the owner of the property. In 2003, Horowitz used the city of Quincy's help to try turning the building into an assisted living center.
"The city assisted him with getting a license for the assisted living center through the Illinois Department of Public Health, but at the end of the day, he never went forward with the project," said Chuck Bevelheimer with Quincy Planning and Development.
When nothing came of the renovation, the city and Horowitz made a plan to exchange the deed and avoid foreclosure, but there was a debt of more than 100 thousand dollars tied to the building.
"It's kind of ironic that that much money was spent on roof work, and then last week, a portion of the east three story wall collapsed because of leakage from the wall," said Bevelheimer.
Landmarks Illinois described the Newcomb as follows:
"The Newcomb Hotel, completed in 1888 at the corner of 4th and Maine Street in the heart of Quincyâ??s Downtown Historic District, exhibits both Classical and Romanesque details. Several owners had planned to breathe new life into the Newcomb, most recently as a retirement home. Some renovations were completed in the 1990s, but the building has remained vacant for over 20 years, resulting in its continued deterioration. In addition, the City of Quincy and Adams County have liens against the property. The City is working through the legal system to obtain ownership. Officials hope to find a buyer who can follow through with renovations to secure the structure and bring it back into use otherwise this handsome building may soon be beyond repair. Despite the ability to use Federal Historic Tax Credits as part of a rehabilitation project, financing for this project continues to be a challenge. The proposed State Historic Tax Credit, now moving through the legislative process at the Capitol, would close the financing gap for this and dozens of projects like it across Illinois."
Information provided by Landmarks Illinois at http://www.landmarks.org/.