Sanford B. Myers Spec House moves out of downtown
Jerome Navarra, co-founder and owner of Jerome's Furniture, kept his 2014 promise to move — rather than demolish — the formerly historic Sanford B. Myers Spec House on 16th and J Street on Wednesday, October 7.
Fresh off the foundation
Traffic cop hams for camera
The house, on a flatbed hauler, trundled slowly through downtown, briefly blocking 16th Street and attracting onlookers — including a motorcycle cop who asked people to take a picture of him scratching his helmeted head.
"I've been on the job 17 years — you rarely get a chance like this," the officer said, posing for the pictures.
In May 2014, Navarra won the fight to remove the house's historic designation, which had helped push the previous owner into foreclosure. Although he didn't have to do it and could have had the house demolished, Navarra promised to find someone to take the house and to move it to a new location if they could find one.
Removing the designation drastically reduced the fees involved in moving the house — which Navarra pledged to pay if someone would take it.
"I can write you a check for $50,000 and you can do the rest or I'll do the Super Duper Mover package," Navarra said at the time.
Moving a historic resource house requires a deposit of $8,000 to $10,000 for the city permit, a California Environmental Quality Act review, and "several tens of thousands of dollars" for permits, said Navarra. That's before moving day. It also means the owner has to hire six pros: a qualified historian, architect, monitor, and a qualified mover among them, according to Navarra.
Movers said the house was on its way to a vacant lot in El Cajon but were unable to provide an address. Navarra's wife, Eleanor Navarra, didn't know much about moving the house. But, she said, she knows Jerry.
"If my husband made a promise, he's going to keep it," she said. "He's a very honorable man and he keeps his word."