ITHACA, N.Y. — Available now – circa 1845 Greek Revival farmhouse, 3 bedrooms, about 1,500 square feet. Price – free. With a catch. You have to move it somewhere else.
The unusual offering was shared by Historic Ithaca Wednesday on their website. The house in question is 341 Coddington Road, on South Hill near Ithaca College. The house is owned by Orlando Iacovelli, whose family are long-time landlords and developers. Iacovelli lives next door to the house, which he purchased at auction last August after it was foreclosed on.
Iacovelli would like to build two student duplexes on the property, similar to the couple dozen others his family has already built around South Hill. However, the snag is that to subdivide the property into two legal home lots, the lot line would have to go right through the house. With an engineer, he looked at trying to divide the lots around it, but wasn’t comfortable with the multiple zoning variances required. Further, the house wasn’t easily compatible for a split into two rental units. In short, it has to go.
On the one hand, Iacovelli, whose family has been on South Hill since the 1920s (they’re the namesakes of Iacovelli Park at the end of Juniper Drive), has a right within existing law to do what he wants with the property, which was not historically designated. He wants to subdivide the land into two parcels, and the only way to create two legal lots is to go right through the existing house, and he feels the existing house doesn’t meet his needs. On the other hand, it would be a shame to lose a solid 170-year house that, though rundown, has many of its original features intact.
So, between discussion with the town of Ithaca Planning Board, Historic Ithaca and other town staff, he decided to try giving the house away, if someone can move it to another site. The town has a moratorium on duplexes in effect until February. which hopefully gives time to find a buyer/mover.
While moving a house is uncommon, it’s not unheard of. Cornell moved the Cradit-Moore House back in 2000 to make way for their North Campus dorms. Estimates for the cost of moving a house vary given size of the house and distance and complexity of the move – examples seem to run anywhere from $15,000 to $200,000, with the middle five figures being common. That cost doesn’t include building a foundation, or buying land. But the prospect of house moving brings re-use and recycling to a whole new level.
“I prefer it to having the house end up in a landfill, it would be nice if the house could stay in the town of Ithaca,” said town of Ithaca supervisor Bill Goodman. Iacovelli declined comment.
For those interested, Historic Ithaca offers contact information for inquiries here.