Two historic houses on the University of Colorado's Grandview Avenue property are almost ready to move to their new permanent location on the 900 block of Marine Street in Boulder.
Christian Griffith, the new owner of the two homes, volunteered last fall to restore the houses and relocate them from the edge of the CU campus.
Now it's finally happening.
"We're getting close," Griffith said. "I'm hoping within the next week or so."
Rather than demolish the homes, the university is giving them away to anyone willing to relocate them — and CU and the city of Boulder are kicking in money to help cover some costs.
The homes that Griffith is moving, at 1220 and 1243 Grandview Ave., currently sit propped up off the ground, with many windows and doors boarded up with plywood, ahead of transport, which will occur in the middle of the night when traffic is less dense, Griffith said.
Griffith, 49, is a Boulder native and founder of Verve Climbing, an outdoor clothing company.
He said local history is important to him as a fourth-generation Coloradan, and he felt moving and preserving the homes would be his way to make a small mark on the community he grew up in.
The home at 1220 Grandview Ave. had belonged to George Reynolds, a well-known CU professor who died in 1964 and left his house to the university.
"As a Boulder native, you feel like it's becoming a community where having an impact is outside the realm of the ordinary person," he said. "So much of what happens in this community now is driven by very large concerns or really wealthy individuals. For me, being a Boulder native and living here my whole life, this felt like an opportunity to do something as a single individual."
In 2001, the city and university reached an agreement to protect homes located in the "Grandview Preserve," an area between 13th and 14th streets on Grandview Avenue.
Though the homes at 1220 and 1243 Grandview Ave. are outside the protected area, Boulder and CU have worked to preserve many nearby homes for their historic value.
In early 2012, the university announced plans to demolish or find individuals to relocate five homes near the Grandview area — 1220, 1243, 1232 and 1244 Grandview Ave. and 1546 Broadway.
CU spokesman Ryan Huff said the university rents out 1232 Grandview Ave. to students, and 1546 Broadway is vacant. He said the university has "no future plans" for either home.
The university tore down 1244 Grandview Ave. in March, Huff said.
Moving Griffith's two homes will be challenging, and will require collaboration between the movers and city officials to help the homes navigate under traffic lights, power lines and trees, Griffith said.
Griffith also said he hopes the homes, which were constructed in 1906 and 1909, will help keep the city aesthetically diverse.
"It creates a beautiful and unique addition to the cityscape rather than just the cookie-cutter, stucco-sided apartment buildings that are spreading all over the place," he said.
Helping cover costs
To help with moving and restoration expenses, Boulder is contributing $50,000 per home.
CU is contributing another $50,000 per home, minus the costs the school incurred to remove asbestos and other hazardous materials. Huff said that stipend is also dependent on a successful move and restoration of the Grandview lots.
The university has no plans yet for development of the Grandview sites. Officials had said the area may be used for parking.
"We share the city's goals on historical preservation, so this was an opportunity where the cost to tear down these structures was about $50,000, so if we could provide $50,000 to someone to ensure these homes would remain a part of our community, we saw that as a real win-win for both CU and the overall community," Huff said.
Griffith is moving the homes less than a half-mile away to a 24,000-square-foot lot near Ninth and Marine streets, where he relocated another historic home more than 10 years ago.
James Hewat, Boulder's historic preservation planner, said the two Grandview homes — a Craftsman Bungalow and an Edwardian Vernacular — should fit in well in their new neighborhood.
"They're important examples of that kind of architecture," Hewat said. "The nice thing is they're not being moved too far. They're being moved to a neighborhood where that kind of architecture fits in with the character of the buildings."