Pam's Last Stand

A final orphan hangs on in the historic building that beckoned the parentless, posh and punk

"Everyone knew each other," she says. "It was animal-friendly. People would bring their dogs and cats to the office."

But soaring maintenance costs led the foundation to decide to sell the property and put the proceeds into more charitable funding. The building and land across the street were offered for $2.8 million. "It was appraised at $1.8 million," says Harshbarger, "and we got a lot more than that."

Ace Holley, managing director of development for HHN, declines to say how much was paid. He says that after renovations, 15 units will be available under the property's new name, Villa Serena.

As for Francis, Holley jokes that she is "the last of the Mohicans."

"The lease gives her a right to stay," says Holley.

Holley says the place needed work after years of occupancy by "grade C and D renters, a pretty interesting mix of people."

"But it's cleaned up very well," says Holley. "That's a very popular area. It's incredible. You have more of a neighborhood feel close to downtown."

However, Francis says that feel was always there, even if Holley and other developers couldn't see it. When May arrives, she'll move her studio to her house, just a few minutes away. But she fears it won't feel the same.

"This was a loving, caring building," she says with a sigh. "It was a magical place. But it's like Martians have landed on Earth and eaten up the Fourth Ward."

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