A new Marriott hotel is coming to 901 Melrose Avenue in University Heights, which means the house that’s standing there currently has to go. Normally “has to go” in these circumstances just means “will be torn down,” but the developers who own the property are giving this house a chance at a new life in a new place.
University Lake Partners will give the two-and-a-half-story house free to anyone willing to move it. A barn on the property with an attached shed is also available.
“One of the members of the [University Heights] city council thought the house might have some historic value and wanted to keep it in the city,” Jim Glasgow, co-owner of University Lake Partners, said, explaining the origins of the house giveaway idea.
University Heights had a historical survey of the property done to determine what, if any, architectural or historical significance the three-bedroom, 1.5-bath house has. Probably the most interesting fact turned up by the survey was that it’s not possible to determine what year the house was built.
According to the records of the Johnson County Assessor’s Office, the house was built in 1895. The survey, however, determined that date must be wrong, because the house doesn’t appear in a 1900 atlas of the county. Instead of fixing a date for the house, the survey gives a range of possibilities for the “eclectically styled building,” concluding that “stylistic and materials analysis strongly suggests the building and outbuildings were constructed after 1904, but prior to the 1930s.”
“There are some nice features to the old house,” Glasgow said. “But the plumbing and wiring would have to be replaced to bring it up to code.”
Before even getting to the cost of those upgrades, a potential home-claimer would have to consider the cost of moving the house.
“The estimates we had for just moving the house ranged from $60,000 to $150,000,” Glasgow said. “I don’t want to dissuade anyone from taking the house, but it looks like it would be cheaper to build a new house.”
That’s why Glasgow and his partner Greg Stiltner are open to another option.
“We would have no problem with someone coming in and salvaging anything architecturally significant — trim, windows, doors — things like that,” Glasgow said. “Move it or salvage it, we’re giving it away, one way or another.”
Anyone interested in the house should get in touch with University Lake Partners before the end of May by calling Stiltner at 319-631-1803.
“The sooner, the better,” Glasgow said.
According to the assessor’s site, the house is 1,980 square feet, and has both hardwood and tile floors. The barn is 18 feet by 20 feet. The assessed value of the 901 Melrose Avenue house is $209,300.