Survivor? The deal with the rock house

It's been standing like a lonely soldier in a field of red dirt, with Hollymead Town Center rising around it. The stone house on U.S. 29 north has caused many motorists to wonder, what's up with that?

"I wanted to move it to some land we have on Dickerson," says Wendell Wood, president of United Land Corporation, which is developing the shopping center.

Wood estimates the 4,000-square-foot house, built in the '20s, is worth around $250,000. "It's a nice old rock house," he says.

But there are complications and a creek to cross. He says that the 60-foot steel beams required to keep the house from touching the stream bank pushed the cost of the move from around $35,000 to closer to $60,000. "It's kind of hard to justify $60,000," says Wood.

County building official Jay Schlothauer says a demolition permit is required to move a house to make sure all the public utilities are disconnected. "And before you plop it down in the new location, you need a building permit," he adds. Once the house is reconnected to its new foundation, another inspection is required for its certificate of occupancy.

Building a bridge to cross a stream would be a big deal, adds Schlothauer.

Leaving the house in its present location is not an option– although people call and want to rent it. "It doesn't fit," says Wood. "It would be sitting in the middle of a parking lot." Plus the elevation for that site will be 15 feet higher.

Wood is still deciding what to do with the house, but one thing is certain: its days are numbered.

"In 30 more days, we'll either move it or tear it down," he says.

Why has the rock house remained while earth around it has been bulldozed to make way for Hollymead Town Center?