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Columbus 'Circus House' in foreclosure after owner's bankruptcy

The owner of a well-known Ohio home dubbed the "Circus House" has filed for bankruptcy, and the primary mortgage holder is seeking to foreclose on the home.

Built in 1895 for the owner the Sells Brothers Circus, the home, which overlooks Goodale Park in Columbus, now is vacant. Its distinctive roof is shaped like a circus tent. Noted architect Frank Packard combined Gothic, Chateauesque and Romanesque styles when designing the home.

"This is truly a one-of-a-kind home that is as important as it is admired," the executive director of the preservation group Columbus Landmarks told The Columbus Dispatch.

A local businessman bought the property in December 2016 for $1.55 million, then made some changes to the 7,400-square-foot, five-bedroom property.

But last June, he put the home on the market, saying he intended to move to the West Coast. It didn't sell, and the businessman later filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. He said he had assets of $2.5 million but also debts of $2.7 million, and he contended most of the debt was attributable to his ownership of the Circus House. The home has three mortgages.

A former owner, for one, said he hopes a new owner will restore the home to its former glory.

"If you look at what it would require to be on the National Register, it hits all of those — significant events, association with significant people, and it embodies a distinctive architectural type, and its important to our city's history," the former owner said.

We all purchase homes intending to enjoy them and to hold on to them. Any homeowner who is unable to keep up with the mortgage payments has options available to pursue before the foreclosure process begins.

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