Two brown-shingle homes located in the heart of downtown Berkeley have been put up for sale. The asking price? Just $1.00 apiece.
The houses are on the site of the proposed Acheson Commons development that would impact the building that houses Ace Hardware on University Avenue. As part of the review process, developer Equity Residential is required to try to sell the properties before demolishing them.
The Moore/Acheson House and the Baldwin/Acheson House, at 1930 and 1922-24 Walnut St., date from 1905. Neither house is landmarked, nor a designated historic resource, and they have been vacant for many years so are in a state of disrepair. A buyer would be required to pay for the removal of the two homes, one of which was originally a single family home, subsequently converted into a duplex. The larger of the two was designed multi-residential property when it was built. A buyer would also need to move the homes to a suitable site within Berkeley on a deadline of May 2013.
When the homes were assessed in December 2011, they were described as being of the original First Bay Tradition/Shingle Style design. “Alterations to the building appear minimal and include the installation of two replacement windows on the eastern end of the south façade. Despite the installation of these windows, the building retains high levels of the original workmanship, and materials,” wrote LSA architectural historian Michael Hibma.
One hundred years ago Walnut Street was called Home Street and these homes were two of many residences in the center of Berkeley. Many of them burned down in the big fire of 1923, after which UC Berkeley snapped up much of the land (read the full story, “When Berkeley’s Home Street was street of homes” by Daniella Thompson on the BAHA website).
“The homes have to be moved before the groundbreaking on the new project which is expected to be next summer,” said Mark Rhoades at City Centric which is handling the sale. Rhoades describes the houses as “nice shells”. “They are structurally sound but will need all new plumbing and electricity as well as interiors.”
There have been more than a few cases of old homes being moved in Berkeley. In February last year Tom White and Dmitri Belser moved a house known as the Cheney Cottage from its original College Avenue site to 62nd Street where they are currently in the process of renovating it. They bought the home for $16.00 from UC Berkeley in 2009 after it was advertised on Craigslist and Ebay.
Read the city’s document about the Acheson Commons homes, referred to has Cultural Resources. Details about Acheson Commons is also available on the city’s website.
Acheson Commons: New, large-scale change for downtown [04.09.12]
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