The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 13, 2010

Home can be moved for $37K

MIDDLEBURG — A Valley bank wants to build a new branch in central Snyder County, but right now, there's a brick house in the way.

Northumberland National Bank has two options: raze the perfectly good house, or find someone willing to buy it — and move it.

Typically, houses, trees and any other blockade would simply be demolished so a business building can be constructed.

But a sign next to the house shows the bank would rather not do that.

"We're just going the extra mile to see if we can recycle it, and someone can end up with a nice house," said Mike Flock, vice president of Northumberland National Bank.

So far, he has received six to eight inquiries. The 1,280 square-foot house will be sold through a bidding process.

The house has a couple of bedrooms, a fireplace, hardwood floors and a finished attic, Flock said. It also has a full basement, which the bank would fill in once the house is either demolished or moved.

If moved, the house would be jacked up, put onto rollers and moved to a lot where a basement or slab has already been laid.

"We know it can be done," Flock said. "It's a matter of if someone wants to go through the effort."

Art Bowen, with Bowen Agency Realtors, said it would cost the owner of the house $10,000 to tear it down. The buyer, he said, "is usually a contractor or a person who can get it at the right price, put it on a nearby lot and have a house for less than the cost of buying a used one elsewhere."

It's not unusual to move a masonry house, Bowen said.

Another situation occurred in 1991, Flock said, when a little brick house was moved from its location so First National Bank, then the Snyder County Trust Co., could build a branch in the area.

Mark Buckingham, owner of Wolfe House & Building Movers, with offices in Bernville, Pa., and Indiana and Georgia, has been moving these types of structures for 30 years throughout the East Coast and into the Midwest. His father and grandfather had the same career.

The cost to move this particular house about five miles, he estimated, would be $20,000 to $25,000 — if the brick is shelled off. With the brick, the cost would go up another $10,000 to $12,000. The price is also dependent upon the route that must be taken, and what obstacles there are on that route.

Though a house's weight is not known until it is put onto hydraulic jacks and scaled, Buckingham said the typical weight for a house this size is about 120 tons.

Such a move requires very specialized and expensive equipment, he said.

His business moves approximately 130 to 140 structures each year, many of them historical buildings that people want to preserve. They are currently in the process of moving a historical brick train station building, away from the tracks and into a new lot to be used as a new townhall.

"They're going to make good use out of it," Buckingham said.

His business also moved the historic Alexander Hamilton house in New York City for the National Park Service.

They also move a lot of residential structures, he said, and lift buildings out of the flood plains and install new foundations.

In a private deal, Northumberland National Bank bought the Middleburg property with the intention of building a full-service bank in 2011.

It currently has branches in Northumberland, Sunbury, Hummels Wharf, Selinsgrove, and a branch in Port Trevorton that was constructed two summers ago.

"Middleburg is the next natural place for us to go," Flock said. "We have a large customer base out there."

Bank president Don Steele said they envision a fall 2011 time frame for opening the branch to customers. He expects a few new jobs will become available as a result.

"We've been growing very nicely," Steele said. "We have a fair number of customers in western Snyder County. We look for this office to better serve that area."

The house is located at 8250 Route 522 North, Middleburg.

More information is available by calling 473-3531. For those interested in the house, the deadline to call is June 30. The house must be moved by Sept. 30.

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