Renovating in the Conservation District: A Construction Tour

by Mike Van Houten / Dec 5, 2015

Marmot Properties is very busy in Midtown and the West of Wells Conservation District. Come with me on a virtual tour, and before you start coming up with terms like 'IkeaVille', take a look at what they're actually doing. It doesn't involve Ikea.

210 Moran - 8-plex

Prior to the Marmots acquiring 210 Moran, it was one of the scarier properties wedged between Center Street and Holcomb Avenue, i.e. "No man's land' an area of town not belonging to Midtown nor the West of Wells Conservation District, officially. Police were often called to the property due to drug use and domestic squabbles that could be heard two blocks away.

Marmot Properties recently acquired the 8-plex and immediately began improving the property, putting in a new yard, a mural on the building, and gutting then renovating the units. All of the units were stripped down to the wall studs, then rebuilt, including the kitchens. All electrical replaced, new plumbing, and cabinetry.

Here you can see how the interior walls were rebuilt.

Brand-new bathrooms.

New kitchens with new appliances including gas stoves.

Each of the bottom units will have its own fenced yard.

New counter-top bar area with additional storage space, that didn't exist previously.

New stairs.

225 Moran - Bungalow Heaven

This house is on the corner of Holcomb and Moran, and is my favorite property that falls within 'The Assemblage' a collection of 13 or so units between Moran, Holcomb, and Center. Marmot Properties is updating the electrical, repairing walls, restoring the original hardwood flooring, replaced the beautiful arch-shaped windows with energy efficient historically-appropriate windows, completely gutted and updated the kitchen and bathroom.

This house has an absurd amount of windows.

A large fenced backyard is a rarity in this part of town. Perfect for even a mid-to-large-size dog.

The neighbor's yard, also a Marmot Properties renovation, however people already moved in so I couldn't photograph the interior.

231 Moran - Digging Down - Adding a New Two Bedroom Basement Unit

In one of their more ambitious projects, Marmot Properties is in the process of adding a basement residence to an existing alley-facing brick home that previously only had a three-foot crawlspace under the home. A massive amount of dirt was excavated, new supports and foundation reinforced, a subterranean courtyard was built, and more. It's a work still in progress. For a basement unit, this space has very tall ceilings (10 foot) and plenty of natural lighting. They also completely renovated the above-ground unit but people had already moved in and I couldn't tour it.

All brand-new, the concrete walls will be covered with vines and greenery.

The interior, not cavernous at all.

Lots of natural lighting from the south side.

416 Roberts, A and B

The Marmots stirred up a lot of controversy by painting their renovated house bright orange. They took a lot of hits and jabs from neighborhood historians and other developers who said it just wasn't appropriate. Well, Marmot Properties answered that criticism by painting the house behind it, 416 Roberts, the same exact color. Whether you love or hate the color, the renovation turned out beautifully. The house was converted into two units, an upstairs residence and a new basement residence which is still in progress. The 1-bedroom upstairs residence is already spoken for, leased at $1400 a month.

Beautiful new countertops, cabinetry, and appliances including gas stove.

Completely redone bathroom.

New basement unit

426 Roberts - A New Lease on Life

This poor house has seen better days. A collapsed foundation and unsalvageable roof and ceiling are among the problems Marmot Properties is tackling. This house when complete, will have a new solid foundation, brand new interior walls, ceiling and roof, new electrical, and new plumbing. For those who believe Marmot Properties simply does a paint job and puts in some new Ikea cabinets and appliances, check out these pics.

You can see part of the new foundation in this pic.

516 Sinclair - A Church-turned-residence

This house was formerly a church, and prior to the Marmots acquiring it, was chopped up and reconfigured to be an office/church and not a home. Marmot Properties is gutting most of the interior, laying out a brand new floor plan and walls that will turn it back into a three bedroom home. Unlike their other properties, this will go on the market for sale once its complete, rather than go on the market as a rental.

This makeshift sun-room at the front of the property is not original to the property, and the Marmots plan to tear it out, opening it back up to a front porch. The window on the left in this photo, is the original front wall of the house before the enclosure was built.

New interior layout being built.

Across the street from 515 Sinclair, Blake Smith's Midtown Lofts project sits ready to begin construction in a month or so.

So there you have it! Lots going on in Midtown and the West of Wells Conservation District.







Post your comments
  • December 5, 2015 - 12:53:23 PM

    You are doing a great job of restoring these old residences back into beautiful properties. You should have someone video taping the before and afters and during construction. It was make a great series for TV.

  • December 5, 2015 - 1:19:27 PM

    It's nice to see someone who believes the Mid Town/West of Wells neighborhoods is not just a place for cheap rentals. We wish more of the landlords in these neighborhoods would fix up their rentals.

  • December 5, 2015 - 6:27:42 PM

    I own my house in the 400 block of Roberts & I can tell you I jumped with joy when I found out that Marmot purchased the house next to my residence which up to that time was the most rundown property on the block. I knew from firsthand experience seeing what Marmot had done to other nearby properties: they maintained their historical identity while totally upgrading electrical, heating/cooling, water/sewer etc. As a West of Wells property owner/resident, I totally applaud Marmot .

  • December 24, 2015 - 8:25:05 AM

    I noticed that there is also work going on at the former Grant's Landing site. Any idea what that is?

  • December 24, 2015 - 9:08:04 AM

    Hi David, unfortunately its just a staging area for the Virginia Street Bridge replacement. Hopefully when that project is complete, something will happen with this long-vacant property.