This town will go to any length to preserve a piece of their history. They want to save face and keep up the affluent nature of the town. So, they ended up doing the most drastic thing to preserve it… And the $10 big is just the beginning.
Many towns take pride in their history. They do their best to preserve any historic parts, whether they’re saving buildings, art, or sculptures.
Keeping It Sacred
A lot of the time, demolishing anything for a new whatever it is will not work in a historic town. A new condo over old farmland? Nope. A Super Walmart over a stone house that a Civil War general owned? Forget about it.
A lot of the time, if a home was designed by a famous architect, it will be forever sacred to the town. Not only does that show that the town was thriving, but it adds to the story of what the town is.
Dudley S. Van Antwerp
For one town in New Jersey, there was one architect who helped build over 500 buildings during one of its most prosperous times. Dudley S. Van Antwerp has become a staple name in the housing industry in Montclair, NJ.
Van Antwerp was born in 1867 in Huntgindon, Indiana. He had always been a draftsman and employed with multiple architectural companies. He ended up moving to Montclair in his later years and completely changing the face of the town…
Not only did he build fabulous homes, but he had a huge part in a lot of the town staples. Railroad stations, parks, churches, libraries… You name it! Van Antwerp gave this little town a facelift.
Wouldn’t Be The Same
If it weren’t for his one architect, the town of Montclair wouldn’t have the same esteem that it has now. Their town historical society takes things very seriously, which is why they’re so keen on preserving this one home…
44 Pleasant Ave
Built in 1906, the home was once owned by Aubrey Lewis, a prominent and important African-American resident who brought even more success to the small town.
In 2015, Aubrey’s widow, Ann, put the home up for sale for $1.4 million. The next year news hit that developer group BNE Real Estate Group. Their plan: Tear down the mansion, and add new single homes on the land. Naturally, the town freaked out.
No New Homes
A lot of the time, historical towns oppose new builds. If they do approve of it, the new builds have to abide by strict guidelines to keep the face of the town consistent and nice.
The lot itself is 2.6 acres, which is more than enough space for eight more homes. But, is the town willing to give up the historical mansion? Not quite…
The Montclair City Planning Board approved of the developer’s plans… But, they weren’t about to let that mansion go so easily. They suggested something completely out of this world, but perfectly in-line with the affluent neighborhood’s vision…
Keep The Mansion Safe
Because the mansion has so much historical influence on the town, the board knew they needed to preserve it. So, they approved the developer’s plans, but with a catch…
You Have To Move It
They were not about to let this mansion go so easily. The board decided that the developer was responsible for preserving this mansion…
With A Catch
In order for the developer to build, they needed the mansion to be moved. Completely. They needed to find a buyer for this mansion who can continue its legacy… Just on a different plot of land. Sounds insane, right?
Just 60 Days
The city planning board said that they can build the homes on the land if they could find someone to buy the mansion within the next 60 days… It sounds complicated and confusing, but it’s way much more than you think it is.
Way More To It
So, they need to be able to move the home within a quarter mile of the original property. They also need to have the land already bought with the correct permits for the moving. Then, they need to actually move the entire home. It’s really that crazy. The developer had a plan…
In order to attract this property to buyers, they decided to put it for sale with a bargain price: Just $10. That’s not a lie. Of course, there are some added costs…
“Assuming we have a clear move route, the cost to move this house would be between $75,000 and $100,000,” says Ben Brovont, an estimator with Wolfe House & Building Movers.
How Can They Do This?
This is a huge project that the town has tasked someone with. They’ll do anything to preserve the face of the town… And it’s not easy.