As debate continues over whether or not to demolish the historic 1901 John Sunday House, one downtown business has come out in support of razing the home.
Ever’man Cooperative Grocery & Cafe, located just a block north of the home, sent a letter last month to the city’s Architectural Review Board, which could make a decision on the home’s demolition later this month. The home, located at 302 West Romana Street just west of Pensacola’s downtown core, was built by John Sunday, an early African-American businessman who also served as a city alderman and state legislator.
Developers led by Pensacola attorney Charles Liberis plan to build 27 townhomes on the 1.5 acre site, should the home’s demolition be approved.
In the letter, Ever’man general manager William Rolfs cited the need for more affordable housing downtown and the Sunday House’s poor condition as the primary reasons behind the grocery’s support for tearing it down.
“Projects like this will breathe life into the hours after most businesses in the area close for the evening or weekend,” wrote Rolfs. “Second, this site has been somewhat of an eyesore for quite a few years now. The buildings are in really poor shape and have been occupied by homeless and vagrants.”
Rolfs echoed the arguments of the home’s current owners and potential redevelopers, who have said that restoring the home would be cost-prohibitive.
Pensacola’s Architectural Review Board last month tabled a decision on demolition to allow anyone interested in purchasing the house for preservation to come forward. Board members could make a decision at their April 21 meeting, which begins at 2:00 p.m. on the first floor of City Hall. However, at least two board members said at the March meeting that they would not support demolition of the home.