In recent weeks, the Redeemer Church of Montclair announced that the three-story house it owns at 23 North Willow St. is up for grabs, free of charge. The unit is currently being used for church offices and classrooms, and the house of prayer plans to build a new addition connected to the main church building, the Montclair Local reports.
To make space for the new construction, the church planned to raze the 3,300-square-foot Victorian home — but this idea has prompted outcry from local preservation officials, according to NJ.com.
“The Historic Preservation Committee in town asked if we could make the house available to someone who wanted to pay to move it before we demolished it,” Redeemer senior pastor Daniel Ying said.
Ying acknowledged that the project is a serious undertaking, as the new owner would also have to temporarily relocate the power lines hooked up to the three-story home when moving it.
“That’s just as big of an obstacle as the cost,” Ying commented. Though exact numbers remain unclear, Realtor.com estimates that total costs can range from about $15,000 to $200,000 to relocate a house.
Though the Redeemer Church does not intend to demolish 23 North Willow St. until January, Ying said they hope to find an interested “buyer” sooner rather than later.
Kathleen Bennett, chairwoman of the Historic Preservation Committee of Montclair, is crossing her fingers that someone will be interested.
“Save it and move it. Then it would be saved and loved by another generation,” Bennett told NJ.com.
The six-bedroom home has two-and-a-half bathrooms and was built in 1910, according to property records obtained by the Local.
Montclair residents may be wondering whether or not history will repeat itself on the heels of the July demolition of the Aubrey Lewis House. In 2017, the historic 4,000-square-foot, Victorian-era mansion similarly hit the market for $10, but the new owner had to be willing to move it.
There were no takers, and the stunning property was ultimately demolished this summer to make way for new construction.