This Week’s Bluff Notes

Sunday, October 26, 2014,

I’m beginning to think that “Walksights” would be a better name for this blog, as I seem to be reporting more on what I’m seeing on my walks than on what I’m thinking. Again this week, my observations are primarily construction-related, but my “home inspections” were exterior-only, so they will provide limited insight (pun possibly intended).

To begin with just a couple of seasonal observations, however, in the yard next door this bouquet of mushrooms caught my eye (one of numerous such posies scattered across the strip of grass beside the street):

And someone has decorated the ornamental boulder on the bluff:

204 N. Bayview

Although I know work has been ongoing (I can hear hammering from my office window), there is not much noticeable change here except that the roof has been covered with roofing felt.

Incidentally, I ran into the former owner last weekend and asked him if he’d seen what had been done to his house. He was very pleased. He said he was glad to see that all the memories had been stripped out of it so that there would be “no ghosts.”

308 N. Bayview

What I hadn’t previously noticed was that not only the front wraparound porch had been removed; another screened porch extending from the back on the left (north) side is also gone. The aerial view below shows the original footprint; the red line indicates what’s left.

This was much more obvious when I passed today because corner markers and a network of boundary lines has now appeared surrounding the house, and a slight rise behind the house has been excavated for expansion.

When I ventured around the north side of the house to get a better look, it was clear that something had been whacked off the back. Only the central core remains.

351 N. Summit

At first I didn’t think there was any change here, but comparison with last week’s photos shows that the pink and yellow flags are new.

112 N. Summit

A great deal has been done since my last photo, including the roof and eaves trim, but in the past week windows have been installed. Also, I saw a truck from an HVAC company in the yard one day, so presumably work on the interior is progressing.

Exciting Developments

Sunday, October 19, 2014,

This week’s Bluff Neighborhood construction report has quite a few interesting tidbits.

204 N. Bayview

As can be seen in the photo below, the second story of the house is now taking shape. The interior of the existing house has been entirely gutted, making it difficult to determine what the intended final floor plan is, but it’s clear that it will be quite spacious, with generous front porches upstairs and down.

308 N. Bayview

In a stunning change from last week, the wraparound porch has been entirely removed. It is obvious that total demolition is not planned, but I wondered if the intention might be to move this house.

This sign in the yard, however, seems to promise a renaissance instead.

351 N. Summit

This just in! This lot, which was cleared several years ago (by demolishing the existing structure) and has changed hands at least twice since, now appears to be being prepared for an actual construction project.

351 N. Summit 10-19-14A

112 N. Summit

This site appears unchanged from last Sunday. I pass it at least daily and have not observed any workers at the site in the past week.

Onward and Upward

Monday, October 13, 2014,

As of yesterday, the construction at 204 N. Bayview has become much more visible from the street, with the front and side additions framed up.

At 308 N. Bayview, screen has been removed from the front porch, and a portolet has appeared in the yard.

At 112 N. Summit, the house is “dried in” (exterior walls and roof covered with plywood and Tyvek), though the floor plan is still unfathomable to me.

Latest Developments

Sunday, October 5, 2014,

Today’s walk revealed further developments on the construction front. At 204 N. Bayview, a slab has been poured in the forms shown in last week’s post and the remaining area filled with joists.

Meanwhile, my expectation of new landscaping at 308 N. Bayview has not been met. Instead, the yard has become a wilderness of weeds and self-seeded small trees.

But there is promise of even more exciting activity to come.

Hazards to Navigation

Sunday, September 28, 2014,

Walking exposes one to many annoyances, not least of which, as I’ve said before, is other pedestrians walking on the wrong side of the street. But there is one stretch of my walking route where I can almost expect the sidewalk to be obstructed one way or another. Often it’s by vehicles parked too close to the building:

A new wrinkle is the “sidewalk café” a little farther along this same sidewalk.

A different sort of hazard (for drivers) might be posed by the absence of the street signs that used to be attached to this stop sign:

Conveniently, however, they are still on this corner:

Progress Report

Sunday, September 28, 2014,

Since I last wrote, some progress has been made at the two nearby construction sites, but it has been very sporadic. As shown in the photo below, the piers and foundation at 204 N. Bayview do follow the shape predicted by the trenches shown in this post, but I could have taken the same photo last week or perhaps the week before.

As for the house rising at 112 N. Summit, some sheathing and a roof/second story have been added since September 7, but all the work occurred in one- and two-day spurts, with no sign of activity between.

There is no obvious reason for the delay: the weather has been generally fair and rather pleasant. Perhaps these jobs are the contractors’ stepchildren.

A New Wrinkle

Sunday, September 7, 2014,

Yesterday as I drove past the intersection of Summit Street and St. James Avenue in Fairhope, I was intrigued by what I took to be a new addition to the stop sign, a mysterious yellow contraption on the top. This intersection is on my walking route, so today I was able to inspect it more closely. To my surprise, I realized that the stop sign was a portable one.

Google Maps’ Street View clearly shows a fixed stop sign in the same location. I suppose it must have been knocked down.

As for the odd yellow device on the top of the stop sign, here’s a closer look:

My initial thought was that it might be some form of illumination although, since there’s a streetlight at the intersection, it’s hard to see why that would be necessary. Inspection did not reveal anything resembling a light source, either.

When I got home, however, and uploaded the photo and saw the embossed “Sundowner,” I was able to google and determine that it is actually the bottom part of one of these (an “LED barricade light”):

Obviously, when the stop sign is deployed at a construction site, this caution light is required.

Latest Construction Report

Sunday, September 7, 2014,

Construction in the neighborhood is definitely getting more interesting. It now appears that the house I wrote about last week will be getting more than a new façade. Judging from the marked-out area and the trenches dug presumably for footings for a foundation, a major addition to the front is planned.

Meanwhile, at the site I wrote about in June, where a vacant lot was created by demolishing a small stucco cottage, a slab was poured several weeks ago. It sat neglected until last Friday, when a load of lumber was delivered. Yesterday, some cut-up lengths of lumber could be seen piled on the slab, and this morning construction workers (at least six of them, as can be seen in the photo below) were at work by 7:30. By the time I went out for a walk about 10, they had made considerable headway on the framing.

This will all be very entertaining to watch.

Further Mayhem

Sunday, August 31, 2014,

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a house in the neighborhood that had been stripped of all its shrubbery. When I got out again last week I found an even more dramatic change—a house stripped of its front porch and (I later realized) siding.

I described this house five years ago, and the picture in that blog post is far better than the “Before” picture on Google Street View (below).

Here’s what it looks like now:

When I did a little research online, I found that the house had changed hands in March. It appears that the new owner is going to completely rehab it. I think it will have a better chance of success this time, as it is in the capable hands of our most notable local architectural firm.

Testing

Monday, August 11, 2014,

This is a test to see whether I can publish a post without pictures.


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