What started as a project to build a "dream house" has turned into a 14-year nightmare for local businessman Jose Herrera.
"I'm going to keep building little by little," Herrera said of the two-story, 8,000-square-foot home he's been ever-so-slowly building since 1995 in a neighborhood west of Interstate 10 and north of West 22nd Street. "I have everything ready to roll. It's going to be all about money now. I'm guessing if I get the money, I can probably get it done in a year or a year and a half. Maybe less."
What stands now on the chain-link-fence-guarded property is a cinder-block shell of a home that includes an array of columns on all sides, including over the two-car garage that juts out from the south end of the home.
Structural reinforcement of some of those columns was the most recent work Herrera did on the house, he said. The work was needed after an architect who X-rayed the columns — a requirement made by the city of Tucson — determined that the rebar holding the columns in place needed to be reinforced.
"I had a real hard time trying to get all of the permits," Herrera said. "The city, they didn't let me keep going until I had an architect. And now, every three months I have to call the city so they can inspect it, even if I haven't done anything."
Herrera said he got a lot of work done on the home in the first few years after starting it in 1995, but money issues slowed his progress.
Then, about eight years ago, he started a roofing business, Umbrella Roofing, that at one time operated in a trailer on the side of the dream-house property but now has its own facility on South Euclid Avenue near East Silverlake Road.
The business is doing well, Herrera said, but for now almost all of his finances are tied up in running it, therefore slowing his progress on the house. "I can't throw any money back into the house," he said.
Herrera, who lives across the street from the construction site, said he no longer considers the project a dream house.
"At first it was like that, but if my business keeps going well, . . . maybe I can build something similar or bigger," he said.
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Call Brian J. Pedersen at 573-4224 or send an e-mail to bjp@azstarnet. com