Kentlands firehouse to become private residence -- Gazette.Net


The historic Kentlands Firehouse will be converted into a private residence, according to Gaithersburg City Manager Tony Tomasello.

The mayor and city council voted Monday night to declare the city-owned property surplus and authorize staff to negotiate a contract. The historic site, located at 321 Firehouse Lane in Gaithersburg, was built in the early 20th century and once housed antique firetrucks.

City staff received three proposals for the site, which were ranked based on the plan’s neighborhood integration, project architecture, applicant’s experience, financial capacity, the project’s timeline and parking plan, Tomasello said.

The top-rated proposal, submitted by Gaithersburg residents Alexander and Jackie Krakovsky, would turn the property into a single family residence with a new two-car garage.

“[The firehouse] is something my husband saw and sort of fell in love with,” Jackie Krakovsky said. “Our plan is to preserve it as much as possible.”

The Krakovskys had been looking for a home larger than their current residence in Quince Orchard Park, and the firehouse had a sense of character that appealed to them. Jackie Krakovsky attended several meetings about the firehouse last year when a committee was formed to decide the site’s fate.

A July 2011 assessment of the estimated cost of rehabilitating the firehouse came to a total of $488,215, The Gazette previously reported. The city-commissioned report, presented by architect Thomas J. Taltavull, detailed extensive water damage due to poor roof design and wooden garage doors in need of replacement. Plumbing, water and electricity systems within the structure would need to be replaced before the building would be up to code, according to the assessment.

Last August, the City of Gaithersburg put out a request for proposals that would redevelop or adapt the Kentlands Firehouse.

Krakovsky said she and her husband plan to make the necessary repairs to the structure and eventually move their family in.

“This is a labor of love,” she said.

Two other proposals for the site were submitted by an architectural firm and a citizen, Brian Stone. The firm’s plan was to renovate and expand the firehouse to contain three residences, then build a fourth residence on the lot. But with 11 bedrooms on the site, Tomasello said the three or four parking spaces planned for the development were too few.

Stone’s plan for a public-private partnership through an arts studio and social hall on the firehouse site never came to fruition, Tomasello said. The two-and-a-half story building was recently used as commercial offices and set construction space for the Arts Barn, but its deteriorating condition led city officials to consider selling the vacant building, The Gazette previously reported.

Though the Krakovskys are enthusiastic about their proposal, Tomasello said there are many hurdles to clear through different city committees before they can begin building.