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Davis

Davis, California

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Dresbach Tank House faces demolition or sale

On 190 E St., the Dresbach-Hunt-Boyer Tank House idly sits next to its respective Dresbach-Hunt-Boyer mansion.

May 17, Davis City Council decided to demolish the house if a third party does not offer to buy it. The council is taking bids for the Tank House starting at $1. The council has received offers since and is anticipating more. Bids will no longer be accepted after June 9.

According to the council, it could cost up to $25,000 to demolish it, while renovating could cost up to $205,000.

On May 24, Anne Brunette, a property management coordinator for the city, posted a press release that stated the sale of the tank house.

“We are excited that numerous people have given offers,” Brunette said. “It would be great if the tank house could be relocated and have more of a purpose elsewhere.”

Councilmember Dan Wolk supported either selling or demolishing the property.

“While I value the Tank House, I agree with the council’s decision to demolish it,” Wolk said. “First, people are not in favor of the location and second, there is a significant lead issue and a large amount of dry rot. The building would basically have to be rebuilt.”

The Tank House has moved twice since its creation in the 1800s. In 1978, it was moved for the first time from its original location to make room for the Mansion Square project. Last July, it was moved again to make room for Mishka’s Café.

The Dresbach-Hunt-Boyer Mansion is currently leased out to various businesses and is considered a historical landmark.

According to Jim Becket, director of the Hattie Weber Museum of Davis, since its relocation, though the Tank House has lost a lot of its historical significance, he would still like it to be restored.

“I believe the primary significance of the [Dresbach-Hunt-Boyer Tank House] is that it is the last and prominently visible tank house in Davis,” Becket said in an e-mail. “In addition, it is the most ornate I have ever seen, which is in keeping with the flamboyant Dresbach.”

In a staff report, the council stated that the demolition was necessary for aesthetic and budget reasons.

“The Tank House detracts from the aesthetics of the mansion. The cost of the project to renovate is also very significant,” Brunette said. “It only has historical significance in relation to the mansion.”

“On the negative side, it is only a contributing element to the Landmark Historic Mansion, not historic on its own,” Becket said. “We have already destroyed other contributing elements, such as the 100-year-old orange trees.”

There have been no plans as to what will replace the tank house if it is demolished or relocated.

“There has been talk of it being a food court for surrounding businesses,” Wolk said. “By removing the tank house, it will open up a significant amount of space next to a wonderful mansion. It is a great space, but there’s no firm answer.”

CLAIRE TAN can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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