Woman's empty lot could be new home for historic house | June 25, 2010 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - June 25, 2010

Woman's empty lot could be new home for historic house

by Daniel DeBolt

The city's second oldest home may have a savior in Ellyn Berner, who was thinking about selling her vacant lot on Pettis Avenue before she opened the Mountain View Voice last week.

Berner said she had been dreaming of building a house on her empty lot before she got stuck when the economy went south. But she may have found the perfect solution.

As reported last week, the "Bakotich house," possibly the city's second oldest home, may have to be moved from its current address at 445 Calderon Avenue to make way for a senior housing development. In an e-mail Friday, Berner made her interest known in moving the house onto her empty lot.

"I have an empty lot that could accommodate the house!" she wrote, adding that she had "been in love" with the Bakotich property for many years" and had "dreamt of buying the lot and restoring the house and trees to their original glory, but money, of course, was my gating item."

The asking price for the property was $3.2 million.

In the meantime, Berner purchased the empty lot at the corner of Pettis and Snow streets. Berner planned to build a home there before she got stuck when the economy crashed.

"So now I have an empty lot and may have to sell it," Berner wrote. "But tonight I read your article and believe this is a perfect opportunity for the city to preserve this house and we can put it on my empty lot."

Driving Berner's interest is a "love of old things." The Bakotich house wouldn't be the first old thing she's restored — she said she used to restore vintage motorcycles.

The Bakotich house is owned by a group of seniors led by Susan and David Burwen who would like to move the 1880s Bakotich house off the 1.3-acre lot to make way for a communal senior housing project for 19 households. Building the project around the house would reduce the size of the project and spread a higher cost among buyers.

Berner has been corresponding by e-mail with Susan Burwen about moving the home. There are many obstacles, some not yet fully examined, that could stand in the way of moving the house to Berner's lot. The affordability of moving and restoring the home and whether the city will support the move are all up in the air to some degree.


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