This Historic Mansion Could Be Yours for Just $10

published Aug 8, 2017
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The stately former manse of Aubrey Lewis — a Notre Dame football star who, in 1962, became one of the first African American agents in the FBI — is currently for sale in Montclair, New Jersey for just $10. But with one major catch.

No, that’s not a typo: $10 is the selling price, possibly even less, according to local newspaper The Record. Interested buyers can bid on the house, designed by renowned Montclair architect Dudley S. Van Antwerp, and the sellers will take “the best offer received,” but the catch is that the entire house must be moved off its existing lot by August 31st and relocated to a new resting place within an approximate quarter-mile radius of its current address: 44 Pleasant Avenue.

Built in 1906, the stately white Van Antwerp Colonial home features six bedrooms, three full bathrooms and one partial bath, several fireplaces, hardwood floors, and lots of lovely period details — particularly the windows. But also some very, very dated rooms, like the kitchen, for starters. According to the township, the seller will contribute a maximum of $10,000 toward the moving costs, but all other incidental costs, if any, shall be borne entirely by the purchaser.

Trulia says the property and stately white Colonial home at 44 Pleasant Avenue in Montclair, NJ is worth $1,350,000 — purchased for its lot size (2.68 acres) and existing tennis courts, which are now going to be turned into an eight-lot subdivision. The original carriage house has already been moved from the property, and you can see just how massive an undertaking it will be to move the main house in this video from The Record.

It isn’t unusual for towns and developers to basically give away (for a tiny sum less than lunch) any historic home or buildings that sit on properties they want to redevelop. It’s costly to move a structure — on average, between $15,000 and $60,000 or more — and once something has been deemed historic, there isn’t much of an alternative other than to renovate (also very expensive). Many times, as in this saga from The Boston Globe, conservation-minded local politicians will even step in to champion (and prolong) the cause in an effort to save the buildings, which go in many cases for just $1 a piece.

Former owner Aubrey Lewis also served as a commissioner of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, overseeing the construction of Giants Stadium, and as a senior vice president at legendary retailer F.W. Woolworth. Read more about Lewis’s legacy in his New York Times obituary.