June 10, 2010

Move That House!


Do you think it would be totally COOL to move what you consider to be an ideal and special house to the most perfect lot or location ever?

I DO!!

Here in my community of New Westminster, BC we recently had 2 houses moved from side-by-side lots earmarked for multi-use/commercial development.

Our city is so committed to the preservation of its heritage houses that they said NO to tearing either of these homes down. Rather, they asked the developer to sell them (and from what I understand, they were purchased for about $1 a piece!) to people willing to incur the cost of moving them to approved lots in the city. When I first discovered that the houses were to be moved I wrote about the idea in my post titled The Ultimate in Recycling. How I had wished I could have one of these houses!!

In late December they moved the first of the 2 houses and I wrote about it here.

This house – a Foursquare built in 1920 – used to look like this…


And now it sits here and looks like this…


DSCF0241For years – in it’s original location – this house was the home of a doctor’s office and health clinic. In it’s new location I believe it will continue to host a business – perhaps an architects or lawyers office. I’ll have to watch and find out!!

My favourite of the two houses… it has a much more exciting future!


Yep… the colour is hideous! But can you see the potential in this 1913 beauty?!

It turns out that local realtor Dave Vallee and his fiance could!! They purchased this fantastic heritage building – known as the Wadsworth House I’ve learned – and moved it into the heart of New Westminster’s most historic neighbourhoods… Queens Park.

I missed the actual moving of the house, but the local paper didn’t…

In this first photo, the Wadsworth House is traveling down 6th Street and passed the local Tim Hortons (mmmm! coffee & donuts!).

Crazy… but Amazing!!


Here, Nickel Brothers Housing Moving company carefully rolls the house on to it’s new lot.


I HAD to do a drive-by and check out this charming house’s new neighbourhood!!


The Vallee’s will put an addition on the house here at the back and, of course, they’ll rebuild the front porch.


It’s so funny… its new neighbour is ALSO a Foursquare! Only this particular Foursquare is charming! The Wadsworth House should feel right at home here :-)


And across the street… a lovely Victorian (my opinion: it would be so much more lovely if they’d paint it in fresh colours!)


I’m definitely going to be doing regular drive-bys to check on the progress. If I get up my nerve, I may even approach the Vallees and see if I can get interior shots as the house comes together!!

Maybe one day the Wadsworth House will look a little like this!


Some of you may be wondering how much it costs to move a house. Here’s what Dave Vallee told the local paper:

It probably cost around $100,000 in total when you factor in everything from the Nickel Brothers’ fees, demolishing the previous house, permits etc.

Sounds like a lot of money, hey? Now consider this… $100,000 as quoted by Dave Vallee, (the following numbers are pure guestimates) maybe about $600,000-725,000 for the lot with it’s tear-down house (low for this area because of the house), perhaps about $200,000 to $300,000 for the rebuild, restoration and addition… that’s possibly a maximum of about $1,100,000. But do you know what they could sell a restored heritage house with this kind of history in the Queens Park area for? Our current market could support $1.2 to $1.5 million!! (Please note: I am not a property value expert. In making this broad assessment, I’m basing my guess on comparable listings [not sales] only.)

So not a bad investment, really!!



Christy said...

I totally think you should ask them for interior photos. I bet you could find his email address online and email him a link to this post so he can see how legit you guys are! Loved this post - sooo interesting!

juli (sweetpz) said...

wow! very interesting.. i knew you could relocate a house, but to see something like this in our neck of the woods is very cool! i would definitely ask to take pics inside =) thanks for sharing!

have a great rainy day!

Catherine @ van Breugel Design said...

Hi Victoria! That is so cool. I love the shot of the house traveling down Sixth Street. Where did the Wadsworth house end up? Is that St.Patricks Street?
Great post Victoria, Thanks!

Sharon said...

Moving a house would really be something crazy here. The logistics look impressive!

Barbara Matson said...

I am glad it didn't get torn down! I love the old house of Vancouver. Just yesterday my son's class took a trip to Chinatown where we got a tour and they showed us some of the old buildings that are being restored. My favourite was the now boutique hotel The Keefer. I think I am going to write a post about it. But silly me forgot my camera!

Razmataz said...

I am so happy that someone had the foresight not to allow these gems to be torn down and also the $ to move and restore them. I would love ot see the reno on the 2nd home. Maybe he will let you in since he is an agent!

Vanessa@decor happy said...

That's so great! And you get to see it all unfold - how exciting. I bet there are some gorgeous architectural features in both homes.

Brillante Interiors said...

Vancouver and British Columbia...where else? You are right, these houses are valuable pieces of history. Hope you can take pictures inside as someone suggested.

Marcus Design said...

Wow, this is such an interesting post Victoria, it is so neat to see this house travel! It's so true that these homes are like gems and it's so great that this one did not get torn down.

PS. I'm going to be praying for sunny weather to come back so I can take you up on that fab afternoon of drinks you speak of! Sounds so delightful! :)


The Passionate Home said...

WOW, thanks for sharing this incredible story. I would love this home. Anything is possible! C

Lisa said...

Very cool! I'd love to see both homes once they are all settled in...

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