A historical house may be given a new home, if the University can find someone to buy it.
Earlier this week, the University opened bidding on a residence previously inhabited by Arthur Miller, University alum and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrite, when he was a student. Miller is known for plays such as “The Crucible,” “All My Sons” and “Death of a Salesman.”
Currently, the goal is to secure a buyer who will remove the entire house from its foundation at 439 S. Division Street. Once the house has been removed, the University plans to use the space as a parking lot.
Jim Kosteva, the University’s director of community relations, said some parties have expressed interest in purchasing the house, but could not provide details on the individuals who may end up submitting bids. A tour of the house will be offered to interested buyers later this month, and bids are due in the middle of December.
“The University doesn’t necessarily see a need for the facility, and so we’re making it available to be purchased and moved,” Kosteva said.
Kosteva said no final decision has been made concerning what would happen if no bids are submitted, but other potential uses for the house would be explored.
As of now, the house is being used as an office for construction workers who are expanding the Institute for Social Research building.
Ideally, Kosteva said the Arthur Miller house would be relocated this summer. The buyer would be responsible for covering the cost of relocation.
The University undertook a similar project 15 years ago, when the James D. Reader, Jr. Environmental Education Center, previously the Burnham House, was relocated from Wall Street near the Kellogg Eye Center to the Washington Heights entrance to Nichols Arboretum.
Given ideal conditions, transporting an entire house can actually be more economical than tearing down one house and building another, Kosteva said.
Although it can be expensive to close streets and adjust things like street signs, traffic lights and electrical wires, houses in good condition that are relatively close to their next location can sometimes be moved without serious difficulty, Kosteva said.
“It’s not an inexpensive activity. However, depending upon how far one has to move it obviously saves construction cost,” Kosteva said. “You have to own a lot and build a new foundation, but you might be able to dramatically reduce overall cost of construction.”
The University purchased the house for $919,424 in December 2010 after receiving approval from the Board of Regents in a meeting the previous month.