The 94-year old Jonas Residence in Kobe may have been saved from demolition as a renewable energy company have entered into negotiations to purchase the property at the eleventh hour.
Earlier this year it was announced that the historic property would be demolished to make way for a 12-storey apartment building. Local preservationists sprung into action and convinced the owner/developer Anabuki Kosan to postpone demolition. Anabuki agreed that they would delay demolition until October, and would consider selling the property for 360 million Yen if a buyer was found by the end of September.
The local preservation group created a limited company called ‘Shioya Hyakunen-sha’ in August to receive funds from anyone wanting to support the efforts to purchase and preserve the residence. Approximately 56 million Yen was raised by the end of September – far short of the 360 million Yen required.
Yesterday it was announced that the seller has entered into negotiations to sell the house and land to a renewable energy company. The buyer expressed interest in acquiring the residence after an inspection in late September.
A representative from the Shioya Hyakunen-sha hopes that the possible future owner will preserve the building.
The home was built in 1919 for British trader and was later sold to Mr. Sakunosuke Yamada – a lawyer for Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
Shioya was a popular vacation home spot for foreigners and was dotted with western-style homes. Unfortunately many of the homes on the waterfront were demolished to make way for the new railway built by the former Japanese National Railway. The Jonas Residence was also in the path of the new rail line, but due to the perseverance of Mr. Yamada, in 1963 it was relocated 400 meters west to its current location.
Source: The Kobe Shimbun, October 1, 2013.