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For sale: $1 Victorian houses in Riverside, but there's a catch

January 30, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Riverside has two historic Victorian houses for sale at $1 apiece, but city officials say finding buyers may not be so easy.

"They are for sale. If you have a dollar and you can commit to moving it and rehabbing it, you may have it," said Riverside Councilman Mike Gardner.

That's the catch.

The city had planned to move the historic homes, the McIntyre house on Olivewood Avenue and 1891 Sweatt house on Mulberry Street, to a parcel, renovate them and put them up for sale.

However, the estimated $1.5 million needed to do it disappeared. The money was going to come out of state redevelopment funds, but the state ended that program.

The city is now trying to figure out what to do with the Victorian houses, as well as an empty lot near them and the land where they were supposed to be moved to.

State legislation mandates that Riverside must sell the assets, including the properties.

That won't be so easy, because a potential buyer must take on the added responsibility of buying the McIntyre house, a protected city landmark, and the Sweatt house, which has historical value.

"To maintain Riverside's history, if it's at all possible to retain these houses, that would be the right thing to do," Gardner said.

If the city can't find a buyer who wants to refurbish the houses, they may have to sell them to someone who wants to get rid of them entirely.