The local assembly of the Kobe City Council have accepted a petition submitted by local residents fighting to save the former Jonas Residence in Kobe from demolition.
The property was recently purchased by a developer who has plans to demolish it and replace it with an apartment building. The developer has already postponed demolition until the end of June, but the committee will put pressure on the council to urge the developer to preserve the building or at least postpone demolition to a later date.
Provided the owner agrees, the city would like to designate the house as an important structure to scenic formation which would provide financial support to the owner in order to preserve the facade and maintain the building. In Japan, property owners must agree before their property can receive a heritage listing.
The western-style residence was built in 1919 for British trader Frederick/Frank Maurice Jonas, and was moved 400 meters to its current waterfront location in 1963 to make way for a railway line.
Read more about the Jonas Residence here.
*Update: The current owners of the house and land, Anabuki Kosan, have agreed to delay demolition until early October. The developer is open to selling the property for 360 million Yen (approximately 3.6 million USD), but if they cannot find a buyer by the end of September, they will begin demolition of the house in October.
The Kobe Shimbun, June 20, 2013.
The Kobe Shimbun, July 2, 2013.