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House in Brenau historic district demolished due to cost
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If you’ve been wondering about something in your community, Ask The Times is your place to get answers. The following questions were submitted by readers and answered through the efforts of our news staff.

What’s happening with the house that was torn down near the corner of Park and Prior streets near the Brenau University campus?

The property was sold in 1995 to Brenau University by Gainesville resident Juanita Forrest under the condition that she could live in the house until she died, according to David Morrison, vice president of communications and publications for the university.

After Forrest’s death in March 2012, the university inspected the location, even going so far as to conduct price estimates for a renovation, but ultimately decided that it was too expensive.

“We couldn’t use it as a residence and it really wasn’t up to code,” he said. “It was considered for office space, but we determined that the cost to renovate it would have far exceeded the value of the property.”

The property lies within the Brenau College historic district of Gainesville, which has higher building code standards than other areas.

To bring the building up to code, Brenau would have needed, among other things, to replace the plumbing and electrical wires in the house and install fire alarms and sprinkler systems, all of which are expensive and time consuming renovations, Morrison said.

“Because it’s a historic area and there are all kinds of codes for those areas, we’re kind of limited in what we can do,” Morrison said.

Instead, the university opted to demolish the house and reserve the land for green space.

Currently, there are no other plans for the location.

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