In 2000, when developer Leo D'Aleo transformed the historic — but dilapidated— Aigburth Vale mansion at 212 Aigburth Road into 70 apartments for senior citizens, his $5.5 million-plus project left a few loose ends: four outbuildings on the Aigburth Road side of the Towson property that were in various states of disrepair.
The caretaker's cottage and another structure eventually were reclaimed. But the former carriage house and maid's quarters were left to rot, to the distress of the Aigburth Manor Association.
The association has been trying to get something done about them for years, according to its president, Paul Hartman.
"They are really an eyesore and a hazard," Hartman said. "The carriage house is almost falling down on its own."
Calling it "a persistent issue," 5th District County Council member David Marks went to bat for the association this fall.
After asbestos removal last week, the county issued a demolition permit, and a private contractor was expected to begin work on Dec. 13.
"I'm very happy to see them removed," said Marks. "I always thought they were junky looking."
Some would argue they had a certain charm. In fact, Hartman said the association's first choice was to see them renovated. But that proved impractical because of their condition.
"Since old wood is in demand, we looked at reuse of the material instead of seeing it all thrown in a land fill," he said. "We had several people look at them, but they didn't see anything worth retrieving."
Hartman said he wasn't sure what the owner of the property, St. Ambrose Housing, planned to do with the land once the structures were removed. He believes the fact it's in a hundred-year flood plain would deter replacing the structures.
St. Ambrose officials were not available for comment.
"Years ago they had money to buy shrubs and trees, " Hartman said. "At this point, we'd be happy with just grass."