And so ends a Bay Area real estate story so unusual that it seems destined to become myth in generations to come: The tale of the one-dollar house, cut in half.
In an effort to preserve a historic home (dubbed simply “the Queen Anne”), the city of Hercules bought the place for a dollar and moved it to city property, cutting it in half in the meantime to facilitate ease of transport.
However, they never managed to get a plan together to rebuild it in a public park, as was intended, leaving the city with two halves of a home on its hands and no real idea what to do with it.
Seemingly at a loss, they offered to sell it off for its previous one-dollar price tag to anyone who promised to put right what once went wrong—i.e., stick the halves back together and restore its original beauty.
Last week, they finally got an offer, from Berkeley construction firm Rockhead and Quarry, which in fact specializes in restoring historic homes.
This incredible stroke of luck comes with a catch: the Hercules Queen Anne is now almost certainly going to end up leaving Hercules.
Rockhead and Quarry want to move the house to Napa, where it will be situated in a “suitable lot.” Once restored, it will serve as a Wine Country vacation home.
A few other tentative ideas came forward, including a plan to convert the house into a a school and, oddly, a separate proposal that also involved carrying it off to Napa.
City council members at the November 9 meeting appeared bummed out about the idea of giving the place up, but also relieved that someone finally made an offer.
“There doesn’t really seem to be a viable option,” remarked City Manager David Biggs.
“It just has to find a home somewhere else,” said Vice Mayor Myrna de Vera.
And so ends the story of the historic home without a home, and the one dollar deal that nobody could close.
The city still needs a CEQA study on the proposal, but the vote to sell off and move the Queen Anne passed unanimously.
We wonder, will the receipt specify that it’s 50 cents for one half and 50 cents for the other?