He expected it wouldn’t be the same house. When Bob Berg sold his bungalow in Wash Park East, the developer who bought it told him he planned to renovate the home.
But the buyer said he would fight to save the character of the 1920s-era craftsman bungalow, at the corner of South Gilpin and Mississippi streets.
“This house had been pretty much pristine since 1920,” Berg said. “Generations had lived there. Generations of neighbors had walked past the rose gardens in the backyard."
PHOTOS: Bob's home, before it was demolished
Berg was ready to retire, so he decided to sell the property last October. He’s since moved to Park County.
“We got a full price offer like in hours of putting the sign out and we turned that one down because they were honest about the fact that they wanted to take it down and replace it,” Berg said.
Berg said he understood a buyer would likely renovate the property, perhaps “popping the top” and adding a second floor. But he didn’t want someone to move in and bulldoze the house.
“It was a solid old house and I just thought it was something the neighborhood would want to keep,” he said.
Berg finally found a buyer who indicated that they didn’t want to scrape the lot. He says the man told him it wouldn’t be economical to knock down the home.
“He made various kinds of representations about keeping it and renovating it and preserving the character of it,” he said.
So Berg agreed to sell the home. A few months later, Berg got a picture from a friend who drove by the property. Most of the home was gone.
He saw the vacant lot for the first time on Wednesday.
“It’s sad,” he said. “It’s such a shame when a 1920 or 1924 home goes away because the technology exists today to renovate it so well/"
When Berg first posted about the demolition on social media, he got quite a few angry responses. So many, the developer e-mailed Berg to apologize. The developer said he had tried several designs for a remodel, but none of them were economical, so in the end, he had no choice but to scrape the home.
Berg admits, he had nothing in writing guaranteeing the home would be saved. He also understands the new buyer owns the property now.
Berg wanted to include a provision in the contract that would require the buyer to keep the character of the home, but he said every real estate expert he spoke to said the contract likely wouldn’t stand up in court.
9NEWS legal expert Scott Robinson said even if a contract is in place, the home could easily be sold again without such a term, and the next owner could do whatever they'd like. Robinson also said a handshake agreement holds no ground.
“I loved the house,” Berg said. “I spent 30 years here.”
“I really hoped it had a better future than this.”