The city of Superior is testing the market for an over-the-road home restoration option, and Dave Evans of Dave Evans Transports Inc. has a house that fits the bill.

The pilot project, part of Superior's Vacant Home Restoration Program, involves offering a vacant city-owned lot at 1017 Fisher Ave. for as little as $1 to someone willing to move a single-family home onto it. Just a few blocks away at 1122 Cedar Ave., Evans has a free house available. The buyer would have to relocate the structure to the city lot at their own expense, then fix it up.

Evans and his family lived in the house for 22 years. After they moved out in 2009, it was a rental for a time. The two-story, three-bedroom house has been vacant for about three years, Evans said. Roughly a year and a half ago, he and his wife applied for a permit to demolish the house to make way for future expansion of the business.

“I really hate to tear it down because really the structure of the house is good and solid. I mean, it’d be a shame,” Evans said. “It would be great if somebody could use it.”

The house at 1122 Cedar Ave., owned by Dave Evans, is free to be moved from the site. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)
The house at 1122 Cedar Ave., owned by Dave Evans, is free to be moved from the site. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Jeff Skrenes, Superior housing coordinator and planner, suggested the mobile approach. It offers a solution for both Evans, who will get room to grow, and the city, which will repurpose a vacant lot, retain housing and expand the tax base.

Skrenes said a local structural moving company estimated the cost to lift up and move the house to 1017 Fisher Ave. would be about $14,000, not including foundation work and the charge to lift utility lines along the way.

Evans listed the free house on Craigslist Aug. 13. He said quite a number of people have called, but they wanted to move it out to the country and found it would be cost-prohibitive. He’s offering the house on a first come, first served basis. If no one has made a firm offer by the end of fall, the structure will be demolished.

“It made me sick to have to tear it down, but right at this point I guess it’s probably bothering me less and less as time goes on,” Evans said.

If there’s enough interest, the process could be duplicated. Skrenes said the city owns multiple vacant lots that have not had any serious bids, sometimes for years. He estimated there are more than a dozen homes in Superior that are in a similar situation to 1122 Cedar Ave., poised on the edge of business, commercial or industrial expansion. If a business is seeking to remove such a structure, the city would be willing to provide a discounted residential lot to move it to.

“We could save more houses,” Skrenes said.

Evans moved his company from McGregor, Minnesota to Superior in 1987 because of the lime and cement plant next door. The business currently employs 55 people and works with an additional 15 independent contractors.

“Apparently, as young as I was, I had enough vision it just made sense to be right next to them,” Evans said. “You know the old saying, location, location, location. It’s true.”

Evans said he’d hate to see the Superior home he started in and lived in for decades destroyed. By partnering with the city, it might get a second life in the neighborhood.

“We’re willing to give the house away and they’re willing to sell the lot for $1, and then they’ve got somebody living there and paying taxes,” Evans said. “Then it works out good for them.”

Contact Evans at 715-718-2707 for more information on the house; visit the city's website for more information on Superior Vacant Home Restoration Program projects. To discuss future restoration projects, contact Skrenes at 715-395-7245 or skrenesj@ci.superior.wi.us.