What’s a city to do with a crumbling but historic home when the money just isn’t there to rehabilitate it?
If you’re a Hardeeville official, you sell the home and have it moved to Beaufort County.
That’s what the Hardeeville City Council is planning to do with the 102-year old Heyward House on Main Street.
Earlier this month, the council gave preliminary approval for the city-owned property to be sold to a private company, which has vowed to move the home intact to Pritchardville, where it will ultimately be restored.
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Since the city bought the property in 2009, officials “searched for grant opportunities and other funding sources to rehabilitate and restore the house,” city manager Michael Czymbor told the council earlier this month. “But that was unsuccessful.”
Previous attempts by the city to sell the home have also proved unsuccessful.
Michael Condon of Vintage Home Restoration told city leaders he first noticed the Heyward House a few months ago when he “happened to be driving down Main Street — we might have been lost.”
It is “a truly amazing old home,” he said.
“Initially, we thought we could save the house and put it back together again,” but that proved not economically viable, Condon said.
Instead, Vintage Home Restoration, which has operations in Savannah and Boston, plans to buy the home — which shares a name with a different historic home in Bluffton — for $60,000.
“We don’t like to knock down houses,” Condon said.
So rather than raze the home, “we have a deal that we are working on where we wouldn’t destroy the house — it would be moved” to a plot in Pritchardville, he said.
In its place, Condon said the plan is to build an 8-unit multi-family residential development marketed toward moderate-income home buyers.
“There is a tremendous shortage of affordable housing,” he said.
The new condominiums will be priced at a rate “that the average person can afford” — between $175,000 and $225,000, Condon said.
The median home value in the city is roughly $260,000, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
City leaders said they are excited by the plan to build moderately priced homes while keeping the Heyward House intact.
“I appreciate you working outside the box,” City Councilwoman Carolyn Kassel told Condon earlier this month.
The lack of affordable and workforce housing “has been a real issue for the area,” she said.
City Councilman John Carroll said, “We have spent a lot of time on this trying to save this house and do something with it, and “it means a lot ... (that the) house is not going to be lost or torn down.”
The council has scheduled a public hearing and final vote on the property sale at an upcoming meeting set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Hardeeville City Hall.
If the sale is approved, the parties have until August to close on the deal. Condon said he expects construction of the new homes to take about six months.