Former Mayor Ed Garza's burned, historic home about to be sold

Ed Garza's historic Monticello Park house burned in 2011, expected to be renovated


SAN ANTONIO - An historic home owned by former San Antonio Mayor Ed Garza that burned two years ago will be getting restored by a new owner, much to the relief of neighbors who have had to stare at the eyesore.

In April 2011, flames ripped through the home on North Drive in the historic Monticello Park neighborhood.

Garza, who is now president of the SAISD Board, had bought the vacant house and was renovating it when the fire happened.

Josette Gonzalez, of Keller Williams Realty, is an historic home specialist and was listing the house for sale at the time.

She said any fire at a home in Monticello Park is hard to take.

"These are my babies in here,” Gonzalez said. “And just to see this makes me very, very sad."

Investigators said the remodeling project may have caused the fire -- they said dust from the sanding of floors may have caught fire.

Garza sued the contractor to recover his losses but that suit has stalled, much like progress to clean up this house.

Catherine Lee lives across the street and said after two years she is tired of looking at it.

"Why does it take a long time to do things in San Antonio?" Lee said.

She said not only is it dangerous, it is bringing the whole neighborhood down.

"As far as my property value or whether I feel safe or not, no I don't,” Lee said. “That building is not secure."

Now Garza has good news for neighbors.

"We have received an offer to purchase the home with the intent of restoring the house," Garza said.

He said with the lawsuit pending, he has not had the money for more restorations and felt the city's Historic Review Committee would not allow demolition.

A sale with restoration was the perfect solution.

"We take pride that it's not about flipping houses,” Garza said. “It's really about restoring it to the original beauty and not putting in cheap improvements and a coat of paint."

An historic loss will now become an historic rebirth. Neighbors are keeping their fingers crossed that the home sale closes on April 15 as scheduled.

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