What's the catch? Smith College selling 4-bedroom, 2-bath Paradise Road home, Northampton, for $1

Last modified: Friday, June 27, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Smith College is selling a house on its campus for $1 — but there’s a catch. The house must be moved once it is purchased, and that may cost up to $70,000.

The 2,332-square-foot structure at 65 Paradise Road built in 1860 was used as rental housing for faculty until the college decided to build new apartment-style student housing, said Samuel Masinter, the director of college relations at Smith. The new housing for juniors and seniors will be built where the 1860 house and several other structures now stand. While the other buildings are in a state of disrepair and will be demolished, the house is in pristine condition, according to the college.

The Northampton Historical Commission gave the college permission to tear down the Mason infirmary, the former Sunnyside Childcare Center, and the F. Dwight Drury house at 66 Paradise Road in order to build the new housing, but imposed a one-year demolition delay on the home at 65 Paradise Road. The commission hopes that someone can buy and move it to “preserve and reuse the structure” because it is a historic building, Masinter said.

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The house has three stories and a basement, with four bedrooms according to city records. There is a fifth room that would work well as a bedroom, said Roy Johnson, a real estate agent with Jones Group Realtors which is handling the sale. The house also has two full bathrooms, two fireplaces and historic woodworking.

Johnson said that moving the house will be “quite laborious,” and he is uncertain how much it would cost. However, Johnson said that he knows there was a similar house moved at Amherst College, and that it cost around $70,000.

Johnson said the move would involve removing the building from the foundation at the joists, and transporting it on a large truck.

There would be other costs associated with moving a house, including buying land where it would be placed, building a new foundation and connecting the plumbing and electricity, Johnson said.

“We have already had quite a few people inquire about it,” said Johnson. The house is only being shown to people who have already contacted a house moving company for an estimate and have land on which to move the house.

Johnson said that other than having those criteria for showing the house to people, it is being marketed very similarly to any other house. He said that they have taken out several large advertisements in local papers, and that those have prompted many phone calls from people who simply saw the $1 price tag and were interested.

The college hopes to have the house moved by Sept. 1 so construction can begin on the new housing complex which is scheduled to be completed in January 2016, Johnson said.


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