|The cost of fixing up Palo Alto's historic Roth Building -- built in 1931-32 to house the Palo Alto Medical Clinic -- is rising almost as fast as fundraising efforts are bringing in dollars to save it.
As of now, the building is slated to become the city's first local history museum, under a $1 a year lease to the Palo Alto History Museum, a nonprofit organization formed to create such a museum.
But the original $5.5 million estimate to repair and remodel the building into a museum has grown to $7.2 million.
"It's kind of a tough situation and you can understand both sides of it," according to Bill Fellman, real property manager for the City of Palo Alto.
"They don't want to take on something that's going to be quite an additional cost to them," Fellman said of museum supporters.
The Palo Alto Medical Clinic used the building -- designed in 1931-32 by early Palo Alto architect Birge Clark -- for nearly 70 years. The city purchased the building in 2000 for $2 million and intends to lease it long-term to the History Museum group for $1 a year.
The city initially offered the building "as is" but the history group argued that the city should be responsible for repairs needed because it failed to prevent two winters' worth of water damage.
With the $415,000 approved last summer, the city has installed fans, electricity, ventilation and drain systems. It will also fix windows and door locks.
But even the new drain system did not address the Spanish-colonial-style building's major leak, which could be due to the old concrete basement or the way the building's alterations were "hodgepodged, added on here and added on there. It's really weird configuration," Fellman said.
If the leak is left unfixed, standing water could encourage mold growth, adding to costs, he said.
-- Molly Tanenbaum
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