Foundation willing to give lot away for free, but there is one catch

Free piece of property in Salisbury
Published: Jan. 15, 2015 at 7:57 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 15, 2015 at 7:59 PM EST
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SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - It sounds like one heck of a real estate deal. A buyer can get a piece of property in a great location, not for a low price, but for no price.

The Historic Salisbury Foundation owns the lot, and while the sign in the yard says “For Sale,” they will actually give it away, free.  But there is one small condition.

The grass covered lot at 717 N. Main Street is just steps from downtown, it's level with a few nice trees, a sidewalk, city garbage and recycling, and of course, it's free for asking.

That is, free if the buyer agrees to buy a house at 516 N. Main Street and move it two blocks to that lot.

The two story house was built in 1900, and is currently the home to Shulenburger Surveying.   It now faces two possible futures.

“That it will either be demolished or moved to a new site,” said Brian Davis of the Historic Salisbury Foundation.

The house, and one next door that used to be the home of J & M Flowers, must make way for the new central office for the school system.  They could tear them both down, but Davis, the Historic Foundation, and the City, came up with something creative.

“This actually came out of a meeting last Thursday of the Historic Preservation Committee and the City of Salisbury who governs the local districts,” Davis told WBTV. “They approved demolition with the encouragement that we work together to try and find an alternative, and it's worth a try. We aren't sure that somebody will take it on and we don't want to slow the (school central office)  project down by any means.”

The house is only about two blocks from the lot, but a railroad crossing means moving the house will also take some creative thinking.

“My former job in Galveston, Texas, I moved ten houses over about an eight year period,” Davis added.  “Roughly moving it from A to B and putting it on a new foundation including site work, I think would be in the neighborhood of $50,000-$60,000.  You're getting a two story house built about 1900 and a lot for that investment of $50,000-$60,000.”

Davis says anyone interested needs to step up soon, like within the next 2-3 weeks, otherwise the house will have a date with the wrecking ball.

“We're going to need to really have somebody step up in the next 2-3 weeks and say we're going to step up, we want this house, we're going to take the lot, we're going to commit to making this happen,” Davis added.

If the house can be saved that would also be good for environment in that it would keep construction materials out of the landfill.

“It actually could save the school board some money to have a two story section that is not in a land fill with land fill use fees,” said Davis.

Anyone interested in the house and lot package or just wants to learn more, can call the Historic Salisbury Foundation at 704-636-0103.