Own a Historic Montclair Home for $10 (Or Less)!

BY  |  Monday, Jul 31, 2017 1:59pm  |  COMMENTS (9)

A house designed by renowned Montclair architect Dudley S. Van Antwerp is up for sale at an astonishingly low sticker price of $10 or less. There’s a catch, of course.

During its June 12 meeting, the Montclair Planning Board approved a subdivision application for 44 Pleasant Avenue. A condition of the Board’s approval requires that the existing dwelling on the property be offered for sale and relocation in an effort to save the historic Dudley Van Antwerp home. The buyer must move the house from its present location to a site within approximately one-quarter mile of its current 44 Pleasant Avenue location.

Below are the building’s purchase requirements, shared today by the township of Montclair:

The premises are purchased “as is,” “where is.” The structure must be removed from its present location at 44 Pleasant Avenue, Montclair, NJ, to a location within approximately ¼ mile. The purchaser shall be required to enter into a contract with seller in which: (a) the purchase price not to exceed $10.00; (b) the purchaser shall perform all necessary remediation before the move and the costs of the move shall be borne by purchaser; (c) the seller will contribute a maximum of $10,000 toward the move cost; (d) all other incidental costs, if any, shall be borne entirely by the purchaser, which; (e) purchaser shall also indemnify seller from any and all liability, including attorneys’ fees and costs; and (f) purchaser shall provide appropriate insurance guarantees. Purchase price: Best offer received. Contract must be executed on or before August 31, 2017 and; the movement of the structure shall be negotiated in good faith.

Offers should be submitted to: [email protected].

9 Comments

  1. POSTED BY frankgg  |  August 01, 2017 @ 8:08 am

    The regulations should have been in place to require that this historic house be moved to one of the lots on the subdivision. The Georgian Inn developers just successfully accomplished the move of the Van Vleck designed brick and slate roofed carriage house. This 44 Pleasant Ave situation has only made mockery of historic preservation and sheds light on how phony Montclair’s preservation mechanism is.

  2. POSTED BY Frank Rubacky  |  August 01, 2017 @ 9:39 am

    I think the HP mechanism worked as designed although you disagree with the outcome. The Lewis family didn’t think it was historic, the PB didn’t, and the Council didn’t. So, it was deemed not to be historic. Insult to your injury will be there will likely not be any takers at $10.

    You are giving Mr Plofker & Mr Sionas too much credit for the Georgian Inn and Kohout House redevelopment. Both the structures and the land they sit upon were locally designated as historic.

    Their original application was to demolish the 1897 Kohout House, not preserve it. I’m assuming you were not aware of this.

    The HPC rejected both the demolition and the proposal to create a parking lot at the corner of Claremont & North Mountain. The first part was accepted, the second part was not.

    Is the final design a good adaptive reuse and design? Unequivocally yes. Did it realize the fulfillment of our HP standards. Unequivocally no. Furthermore, the new parking lot deemed a greater public benefit versus it’s deleterious use.

    I would agree that a basic flaw in applying our preservation policy is our practice of separating the structure from the land it sits on. Our ordinances are proper. It is the interpretation and application towards the underlying land that is an ongoing flaw. The Georgian Inn’s historic value, without its setbacks from the streets, would be greatly diminished.

    Our land use boards view the land on which these historic structures are sited as their primary purview and, as such, the HPC’s input as commentary. And we know the bias of land use boards towards development versus preservation of underutilized space.

    So, I disagree with the inherent generosity of your comment.

  3. POSTED BY frankgg  |  August 01, 2017 @ 9:50 am

    Historic Preservation in Montclair is an inherent failure in the planning stages and another significant historic structure is ignored and lost.

  4. POSTED BY Frank Rubacky  |  August 01, 2017 @ 10:19 am

    Good, at least we can now agree that eh Georgian Inn was far from a complete preservation success.

  5. POSTED BY townie  |  August 01, 2017 @ 11:05 am

    I’ve been driving the Marlboro Inn around town for the past 12 years, looking for a suitable relocation site. Any ideas?

  6. POSTED BY daveastor  |  August 01, 2017 @ 12:30 pm

    That was hilarious, townie!

  7. POSTED BY martinschwartz  |  August 02, 2017 @ 8:22 am

    Planning Board and Town Council members who originally voted not to preserve this home by designating the site “historic” made a huge mistake in my opinion.

    Not just by allowing the destruction of this clearly turn-of-the-century classic residence designed by one of our top architects, but also, simply taking in to account town economics. That’s because the taxes from this now 8-home sub-division coming are likely not going to cover all the multiple kids who will eventually occupy those houses. They will add even more to our school attendance rolls. It was not smart government on any level. Same thing today at the Marlboro Inn-Christco site.

    Now the Planning Board is not supposed to consider the kids/fiscal economic impact from land use projects – but the Council can. And they should have designated this home as “historic” both for preservation and economic reasons.

    Today, it can cost over $100,000 to move a house like this off site. So I will be very surprised if anyone actually takes the developer up on their seemingly free, but in reality, highly expensive proposition. The $10,000 contribution offered towards this move likely does not even cover the cost of demolition to knock down the original home so in my opinion, we are just going through the motions.

    As Frank G. intimates above, at the very least, the original structure should have been mandated to remain, or moved to another spot on that site. Then some additional builds allowed around it. Less development, but a reasonable compromise for all, including the home-owner who was looking for a max buyout. That would have been an ok real-politik solution. But the votes to preserve — were just not there. It was a close, split vote against at both the Planning Board and Council.

    Further, the timing of this particular business was indicative of why we need much stronger “knock-down” protection laws. The HPC does not have the time and resources to nominate every home for protection. And that was an argument used against preservation here. Why did you wait until the owners wanted to sell it – some asked? Because our volunteer boards and commissions don’t have the time and staff to nominate every home. That’s why. They generally work under duress and behind the eight-ball.

    And not every older home should be fully protected and subjected to full exterior preservation scrutiny. But that doesn’t mean they should be knocked down. Montclair needs to put back the ’75 year no knock down law’ — previously on the books, which created a cooling off delay period to allow the HPC and Council to determine if a structure warranted knock down preservation. That law encouraged reuse and adaptation — and helped preserve our classic architectural and old house housing fabric.

  8. POSTED BY Frank Rubacky  |  August 02, 2017 @ 10:36 am

    Yes, this is both a political and an administrative conundrum.

    Like politics, all zoning is (hyper) local. Neighborhood activism is essential and precursory in pursuing neighborhood character measures. It is also essential to modify the Master Plan to promulgate specific tools to support the Plan’s “Big Idea” of conserving neighborhood character. Facilitating the creation of more sub-zoning and permitted cross-zone overlays (e.g. steep slopes, flood zones, historic & neighborhood conservation districts) are necessary antecedents (workhorses) to resurrecting a legally viable “Knock-Down” rule and building Form Based Codes (the cart).

    It would be nice if this pro-development Council saw this opportunity to balance its legacy by similarly leading such a complementary initiative.

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