Peoria firm bid $7,586 to win salvage rights to Burnham Mansion, other buildings

Peoria firm bid $7,586 to win salvage rights to Burnham Mansion, other buildings

CHAMPAIGN — Peoria Architectural Salvage will be paying the Champaign school district $7,586 for the right to remove items that can be salvaged in four houses being demolished to make way for a larger Central High School campus.

The Peoria business' bid was well over the $50 the Preservation and Conservation Association of Champaign County proposed paying the district for salvage rights.

A notice to potential bidders said the school district would choose the highest responsible bidder for the salvage rights to the Burnham Mansion at 603 W. Church St., plus houses at 201 N. Lynn St., 203 N. Lynn St. and 606 W. Park Ave.

Among the items at the houses available for salvage are iron fences and gates, kitchen and bathroom fixtures, radiators, registers, light fixtures, switches and outlet covers, marble facings and trim, millwork, custom paneling, wooden stairs and handrails, architectural woodwork, custom casework, wood panel doors with their hardware and operating mechanisms, windows, decorative tile and wood flooring, according to the bid notice.

"The properties were originally constructed in the late 1800s for use as private residences, but in recent years they have been subdivided into multiple apartment units. The properties are wood-frame construction. Many of the original architectural elements remain in the properties," the notice said.

PACA Executive Director Tom Garza said the organization submitted just a token bid to the school district because it's a nonprofit that doesn't buy salvage.

While PACA operates a salvage warehouse store in downtown Champaign, its mission is really educating the community and working on its behalf to save old houses and "things that would otherwise be thrown away," he said.

Garza said PACA bid the same amount, $50, for the salvage rights to Champaign's Dr. Howard Elementary School, which is being torn down and replaced.

In that case, the organization was the only bidder, and the salvage job ended up costing PACA some money due to asbestos in the building, he said.

The Peoria Architectural Salvage website indicates it buys and sells architectural salvage, including antique hardware, stained glass, corbels, windows, doors, reclaimed lumber, door knobs and light fixtures. The business makes its salvage items available through both a website and warehouse.

There were three bids in all for the salvage rights to the Champaign houses near Central, two of them from Peoria salvage operations, according to the school district.

A date hasn't yet been set for the salvage operation to begin, according to district spokeswoman Emily Schmit.