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Development to be page of 1890s history

Homes will have colonial flavor

The Cincinnati Enquirer

MONTGOMERY - Hidden from busy Montgomery Road sits a white, T-shaped farmhouse at 9544 West St., a home that Patti May thought had a lot of potential and dreamed of restoring to its period flavor.

Talk of demolishing the 1900s property, known as the Schlosser House, prompted Mrs. May and her family to buy the site last November. Soon, the restoration project grew into a larger plan for townhouses and several colonial-style homes.

The project - Hayden's Addition - will be managed by Mrs. May and her son, Daniel, co-owners of Ireland-May Ltd., a real estate restoration and development company that grew out of the project.

City council will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 10101 Montgomery Road, to hear the developer's request to reduce the property's rear setback from 25 feet to 15 feet.

Contractors began work Monday, centering their efforts on replacing the building's outdated electrical and heating systems. They also must install indoor plumbing, and extend utilities onto the property.

Once the work is complete, the house will be sold.

''I think it's important to maintain your history and know where you come from and preserve it for your future generations,'' Mrs. May said. ''We have always been interested in older properties that have charm and warmth to them.''

But restoration is only one-third of the project. The plan calls for constructing five homes behind the farmhouse and building three townhomes on a separate lot.

A private drive will lead to the rear of the property, where the homes will be constructed. Their exteriors will have a historic flavor while the inside will be modern, the Mays said.

''If someone came forward in time from the 1890s, I'd like them not be out of sync with the exteriors,'' Mrs. May said.

The homes will be consistent with heritage district requirements, something that is dear to the May family.

''We moved to Montgomery 20 years ago. One thing we liked about it was, the heritage district had charm to it,'' Daniel May said. ''We think this house fits in perfectly and hope it will be the cornerstone for vintage development.''

The Mays said the location, so close to the city's downtown district, would encourage residents to walk to shopping, restaurants and banking.

''We feel this kind of development appeals to many groups,'' Daniel May said. ''Empty-nesters will be interested in this development.''

Mrs. May, vice chairman of the city's Landmarks Commission, hopes to present the restored building for consideration as a historic landmark.