Going down: 'California look' duplexes doomed

One of eight 1979-style duplexes on Longwood Drive that has a date with a wrecking ball.

To make way for a re-development on Longwood Drive, a cul-de-sac off  Harris Road down 5th Street extended, developer Richard Spurzem plans to demolish eight existing duplexes, five of which demo contractor Digs Inc. has already submitted a permit application for.

According to Spurzem, who owns most of the properties on Longwood, the eight circa 1979 buildings he’s taking down have what “some might affectionately call the ââ?¬Ë?California contemporary look’.” City records show that all eight buildings have the same assessment: $174,200

The 2-story, roughly 2500-square foot duplexes are identical grey and brown wood structures, but Spurzem hopes to replace them with more attractive buildings and more lively surroundings.

“We’re trying to improve the neighborhood, and encourage home ownership,” says Spurzem, who mentions the Willoughby Townes Development directly across 5th Street as an example of what they’d like to create. “But we also want to make them available for a mix of incomes, so some will be for sale, and some for rent.”

Spurzem says that Southern Development, who also built Willoughby Townes, will most likely be the builder. No timeline for the project’s completion has been set.


Hopefully, the criminal element will move on.

They don’t look any more out of place than the ââ?¬Å?Airplane Hanger” on Kelly Ave.


I lived in California for several years. Those don't look anything like what was built out there- not even buildings that date back to the same year that was built.

"stay where you are"... now that's funny:) (I will)

They don't look any more out of place than the "Airplane Hanger" on Kelly Ave. or the "Box House" around the corner on Farish St. How those two houses got permits approved is amazing.

Did you give any thought to the fact that permits aren't given based upon stylistic criteria? That's how all houses get permits approved.

The city thankfully doesn't have any control over anyone's aesthetic choices when they build a house by right. A single glance at their own hideously ugly City Hall or its annex would show you we're much better off that way. Requiring permits to build is mainly just so they know to charge you more taxes when you're done.

That said, those are some ugly duplexes. I'm pretty sure they will be replaced by something uglier though and they are virtually guaranteed to be more shoddily built today than even what was done in the late 70's.