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Posts Tagged ‘91 Cookman sold to Jack Green’

Burned upstairs bedroom

By Charles Layton

Photos by Paul Goldfinger

For all the months we’ve been writing about the abandoned house at 91 Cookman Avenue, and for all the years neighbors have complained about it, we’d never gotten an inside look at the place.

Until now.

On Wednesday, the new owner, Jack R. Green III, and his son and associate in the building business, Jack Green IV, gave us a tour. Workmen had hauled out most of the debris – about two dumpster loads — so what we saw was a good deal neater than the place’s actual condition during the past decade.

Even so, what a dump!

At some point during the period of its deterioration a fire broke out on the second floor, and the damage is still apparent – blackened walls, doorways and ceilings.

Two Jacks on the porch at 91 Cookman Avenue

The house had been owned by a New York City woman who inherited it from her parents but lacked the means to maintain it. Jack Green IV purchased it on June 30 with the intention of renovating.

One of his architects, Carolyn Young, was there on Wednesday taking measurements with a tape. She and another architect, Cate Comerford, will prepare plans in the coming days. Green said his team will submit the plans to Neptune’s zoning department and then to the Historic Preservation Commission. If all of that goes well, he said he’d like to begin work by mid-December.

His hope is to have the place restored and ready to put on the market by summer. Green has considerable experience restoring old houses in Ocean Grove, and he does not seem intimidated by this one. “This is an easy one,” he told us.

According to the previous owner, the house dates back at least to 1891. It is considered a “key structure” in the Historic District of Ocean Grove, meaning it is listed in Neptune’s Master Plan as having special historical and architectural importance.

Green paid $182,000 for the property. He said it probably will cost him at least $300,000 to renovate, not including taxes and overhead. When it’s done, he will probably put it on the market for about $620,000, he said.

This house is one of a handful of deteriorated properties that have caused concern in Ocean Grove in recent years. Its renovation will constitute a rare victory in the struggle to save these crumbling old architectural gems.

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By Charles Layton

The derelict home at 91 Cookman went to closing on Thursday, and the buyer, local developer Jack Green, says he intends to begin renovations as soon as possible.

Green said on Friday that an associate of Cate Comerford, who will be his architect, has already done some measurements, and the next step is to get started drawing up plans. “The minute the plans are done we’re going to submit them to the HPC and start the process,” Green said.

He said he intends to get the yard cleaned up around the house right away.

91 Cookman -- soon to be saved

The sale of this notoriously dilapidated house, and Green’s intention to rehab it, constitute a rare victory for those in Ocean Grove and in the Neptune Township government who have been seeking ways to save neglected historic houses.

The house had been owned by Carole Weisz, a New York City teacher who inherited it from her parents but lacked the means to maintain and restore it. The house has been deteriorating for a decade, and Weisz had been cited by the Township for numerous maintenance violations.

Green reportedly paid $182,000 for the house and will spend perhaps around $300,000 more to restore it. Although the inside floor plan will be changed considerably, Green has said he wants to duplicate the original look of the exterior as much as possible, including copying the original gingerbread decoration.

The architect, Comerford, has extensive experience in restoring historic homes. Her work, between 2005 and 2010, has won 10 Beersheba Awards from the Historical Society of Ocean Grove for historic preservation. She and Green have often worked together on projects in Ocean Grove.

According to Weisz, the house dates back at least to 1891. It is considered a “key structure” in the Historic District of Ocean Grove, which means it is listed in Neptune’s Master Plan as having special historical and architectural significance.

Anita Meeks, who lives directly behind 91 Cookman and has been concerned about it for years, said Friday that she was “very excited” about the sale and the coming renovation. “I’m really happy, and I think everybody else in the neighborhood is happy, too.”

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