Brownstone Renovators Tackling Newburgh Historic Houses One at a Time
By Edie Johnson
Newburgh is taking the challenges of historic renovation of its many beautiful old homes very seriously. Helped by the guidance of a new firm, Dwellstead inc, businesses and individual residents can get a ‘leg up’ on how to navigate the daunting process of getting distressed buildings restored to modern energy efficient standards.
Last week about 20 individuals, notebooks in hand, came to Grit, adjacent to The Ritz Theatre in the City of Newburgh to attend Dwellstead’s first seminar.
Little by little, as one drives through the side streets one notices more and more houses being lovingly brought back to their original historic look. As you drive through these streets you will see houses in disrepair, but on regular trips through the city one can see that as a block changes and becomes more and more attractive, more buyers want to become part of the growing restored community.
Michael and Liz Vega Lebron have worked their way through one project and are hard at work on two more. They shared with the others at the seminar their struggles and successes, such as how to apply not only for regular building permits, how to get approvals from the City’s Architectural Review Board and how to negotiate the state and federal historic tax credit process. There are substantial tax saving in addition to the intrinsic satisfaction of such an accomplishment. Hers and husband Michael Lebron’s efforts to restore a house built in 1865 is well on its way, and in addition to design much of his effort has been put into making sure the house has high energy saving capabilities.
More of these brunches will be held in the future with tips on how to deal with additional restoration challenges and a tour of one of their sites for people in the City of Newburgh community who want to take on the challenge of bringing these historic homes back to beauty.