To the young people who just discovered urbanism, "saving" a neighborhood icon is big news. (For example: Melrose Building Sold, to Be Replaced By Seven-Story Development) Since I have heard about such impending catastrophes for at least 40 years I am a bit skeptical.
Nevertheless, Roger Valdez has proposed an interesting approach We Love Our Neighborhood So Much We Bought It! The gist of the proposal is to form a "Neighborhood Real Estate Invest Trust" to purchase and preserve "endangered" buildings. Roger offers an example of 1200 people putting up $1200 to create a $1,440,000 Trust. It's an interesting approach, putting aside the various SEC (?) rules on the number of investors allowed, etc etc the organizational costs (legal, mostly — such an entity will cost, I bet, a good $10-15,000 at a minimum.
So I'd be curious to see a real world test — the economics of the very subject property in the first link. How much did the property sell for? Is it anything like $1,440,000? What are the numbers like? I suggest Roger should do a real world financial model.