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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Jul. 21, 2014 5 years ago

Historic firehouse faces uncertain future

by: Wayne Grant Real Estate Editor

After restoration, the owner has now placed it up for sale.

Sometimes a person needs a home, but in this case a home needs a person, preferably someone with an interest in history.

The historic Ormond Beach Fire House, 160 E. Granada Blvd., a 1937 Works Progress Administration project, is up for sale.

Designed by Alan J. MacDonough, the architect for the Daytona Beach Bandshell, Holly Hill City Hall, Streamline Hotel, Jackie Robinson Ballpark and Peabody Auditorium, the structure ties Ormond Beach to the history the area.

It also reflects the look the city of Ormond Beach seeks, namely the coquina elements that were used for Andy Romano Park, the Sunoco Gas Station and the proposed new welcome signs.

The building is "like new," having been renovated by owner Snell Legal.

History buffs may be concerned about a change in ownership, but there are a few protections for historic structures. The fire house was designated an Ormond Beach Historic Landmark in 1987, so there are codes against altering the exterior and “destruction by neglect” by not taking care of it. (A full explanation is available in Land Development Code 2-71, which can be found on the city’s website,

Before the building could be demolished, the owner would need to get a Certificate of Appropriateness from the city Planning Board. To deny demolition, the board would need to show the building could be repaired and would be capable of providing a reasonable economic return.

It’s also on the National Register of Historic Places, but the website states there are no limitations on what the owner does with the property.

In addition to serving as a fire house, it’s been a polling station, hurricane shelter, municipal court room, Civil Defense observation post and World War II raid casualty station, according to historical information put together by its owner, Snell Legal.

“It’s been a big part of the community,” said Greg Snell.

Snell, who has joined a law firm in Orlando and moved out of the fire house, is asking $1,150,000 for the building, which he said is ready for a new owner to move right in.

He received a Florida Preservation Trust award for restoring the building it after buying it in 2006.

“We spent $500,000 on renovations,” Snell said. All of the electrical, plumbing, insulation, doors, molding, and more were replaced.

He was able to get property tax benefits after getting it on the National Register of Historic Places.

“It’s like a building built in 2008,” he said. “It’s the kind of place where a business would do well. You really make a nice impression.”

He said it’s great for entertaining.

“When we opened, we had 300 people there,” he said. There are two kitchens and a large conference room, in addition to offices.

“It would be good to have someone who will keep it in shape, and let the people in now and then,” he said. “It’s a local treasure.”

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