A battle between the tech money of a Google exec and the historic sensibilities of a Portland, Ore., neighborhood appears to have ended Tuesday evening with the rescue from destruction of a 122-year-old home.
Kevin Rose, founder of Digg.com and a partner at Google Ventures, and his wife, Darya, have agreed not to tear down the 1892 house in tree-lined Willamette Heights, said Will Aitchison, a resident of the neighborhood who has been acting as spokesman for concerned neighbors.
Instead, they’ll sell the home on Northwest 32nd Avenue for $1.375 million — about $75,000 above the price they paid in March — to other residents of Willamette Heights, Tom and Jennifer Saunders. The extra $75,000 will go to cover costs incurred by the Roses in designing a new home and other expenses, Aitchison said.
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“It’s not finalized yet but we’re very hopeful,” Aitchison told NBC News on Tuesday evening, adding that the parties hope to close the deal by the end of the week.
The Roses’ plan for the property had brought vigorous opposition. It included leveling the current house and building a 5,900-square-foot flat-roofed design very different from the other homes in the neighborhood. (See the architect’s plan for “Deku Tree Retreat” in PDF on oregonlive.com.)
Earlier hopes that the Roses would accept a buyout seemed to have fallen through by Tuesday morning as the wreckers arrived.
“The discussions got very, very focused by the construction crew that showed up this morning,” Aitchison said. “I think that sense of urgency is what brought about the agreement.”
Aitchison described the deal to save the house as a win-win for neighbors and for the Roses, who he said were committed to living in Portland.
Kevin Rose confirmed the sentiment in a statement issued Friday evening about the deal.
“We decided on Portland not as an investment property, or vacation spot, but as a place we hope to one day call home, a place to raise our family,” he said. “We love so much about your beautiful city, and your strong community bond is high up on that list. While we could have legally put our heads down and proceeded forward, that’s not the type of relationship we want with our neighbors and our new city friends.”