A modernist house with no fees, but no takers yet. He needs to move.

A mid-century modern house in Illinois that has been offered for free since November — to anyone who can arrange to move it — still needs a homeowner.

The house was built in 1967 by a local modernist architect, John Schmidtke, for himself. It was designated a historic landmark in 1996, but lost its status last year when the property was annexed by the city of Elgin, Illinois, where it is located. There is now an April 1 deadline for someone to come up with a viable plan to move it.

It’s on a site earmarked for industrial development by a company called high street logistics.

The ChicagoTribune reported in November High Street Logistics was ready to help move the house – a rare offer from a developer who is not legally bound to do so.

The company sought to spread the word via the Cheap Old Houses Instagram account. A recent post garnered over 2,400 comments and 41,000 shares, generating international awareness and a flood of interest in a designated email listed in the post.

“Since posting on Instagram, our company has been in touch with some very realistic options for new owners,” Jay Puckhaber, general manager of development and construction at High Street Logistics, said in an interview. “We are optimistic, but it is still not done.”

“We are working with people locally, including the city, to find a solution,” he said. “Our company will cooperate and help as much as possible.”

The home’s recent owners were Andrea Macias and Jacob Dohm, who purchased the 2,200-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home from the Schmidtke family in August 2018 and turned it into a wedding venue. (High Street Logistics completed a purchase from Macias and Dohm in December.)

Moving the house would be difficult but not impossible. The weight of the bricks could pose a challenge, as could power lines and other obstacles along a potential route. However, since the house has a basement, this would allow the movers to place the necessary supports under at least part of the floor. The house may even need to be divided into two parts.

A historic preservation advocacy group, Landmark Illinois, is supportive of the effort. Lisa DiChiera, the organization’s advocacy director, said the group “is always ready to support developers who are trying to do the right thing to save important cultural resources.”

“We hope the City of Elgin will also help these efforts with time and resources, as well as helping find a site,” she said, “or waiving fees or expediting permits if necessary.

The Elgin Heritage Commission and the Elgin History Museum recently wrote letters of support for its preservation.

There are success stories in house moving. The Lieb Housea landmark example of pop architecture completed in 1969 by Venturi & Rauch (now VSBA Architects & Planners), was moved by barge in 2009 from the Jersey Shore to Glen Cove, NY Frank Gehry’s Winton Guest House was moved no not once, but twice.



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