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Historic Bloomington home, apartments The Oaks in foreclosure

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The Oaks

The mid- 1930's section of The Oaks apartment buildings is built in front of the historic 1859 home of Asahel Gridley. Seth Jacob of Normal, president of Clearstone Construction Studio, said that his company is the general contractor for the renovation of The Oaks apartment buildings, Monday June, 18, 2012. (The Pantagraph/LORI ANN COOK-NEISLER)

BLOOMINGTON — The historic Asahel Gridley home and accompanying apartment building purchased four years ago by the former president of the Old House Society and her husband is in foreclosure and will be sold to the highest bidder June 27.

According to McLean County Court documents, Diane and Bud Sullivan owe lender “301 Grove Street LLC,” managed by Keith Thompson, $807,558 for the property commonly known as The Oaks at 301 E. Grove St.  Besides nearly $750,000 in principal and interest, the tally includes $104,781 to Redbird Property Management, which is currently is managing the property, and $5,968 for boiler repair.

In a complaint filed in January by Bloomington attorney Robert Lenz on behalf of 301 Grove Street LLC, the Sullivans were cited by the City of Bloomington for numerous code violations in the buildings dating back to August 2010.

Several “unhealthy and unsafe conditions” existed at the time of the filing, including unsafe concrete steeps, unlighted hallways and exposed electrical junction boxes in two apartments. One apartment was uninhabitable; a sink in another was broken and the tenant had to use buckets to catch the dishwater.

On Jan. 5, a broken steam pipe was found in the basement of the former Gridley home, according to the complaint. It had caused mold in the building, water and/or condensation dripping from the walls and ceiling, steam in the corridor and warped wood floors and paneling.

Lenz said Bud Sullivan has abandoned his apartment at The Oaks. Diane Sullivan lives in Florida; she did not return phone messages.

Mark Huber, director of planning and zoning in Bloomington, said Thompson and Redbird are cooperating with the city and getting things done.

The Sullivans took out a $644,500 mortgage from 301 Grove Street LLC on Dec. 5, 2008, for the former Gridley home and the accompanying two apartment buildings that front Grove Street.   

Gridley, a state senator and the city’s first millionaire, had the home built in 1859 for $40,000. He and his wife, Mary, moved on the same day in 1861 that Gridley’s friend, Abraham Lincoln, was inaugurated as president.

The apartment buildings were constructed in front of the house in the mid-1930s after Howard Humphreys, owner of a large wholesale grocery warehouse in downtown Bloomington, bought the property.  Rosalie Thornton and her son, Richard, owned the buildings from 1966 until the Sullivans purchased them.


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