Historic Iowa City home escapes demolition; UAY heads to new offices

Donation from UAY, move, renovation called a 'win-win'

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IOWA CITY — A 100-year-old house has been saved from demolition and will be given a second life as someone’s home.

The home at 422 Iowa Ave., called the Houser-Metzger House, is being moved a half-mile to 623 College St., a lot where the previous home was destroyed by a lightning strike in October.

The move is set for the first week of May.

United Action for Youth, a non-profit that offers social services to young people and parents, has had its administrative offices in the home for the past 30 years. It will be moving to Eastdale Plaza in Iowa City.

The Houser-Metzger House and another one next door, at 410 Iowa Ave., also used by UAY, were sold to Great Dane Development last year for an apartment development. Both homes were to be leveled in late spring.

But given that the Houser-Metzger House, built in the 1890s, was still in good condition, the developer decided to donate it to the Friends of Historic Preservation in Iowa City. The other home will be razed.

“It is a tragedy any time we lose one of the historic properties in our community,” said Alicia Trimble, executive director of the Friends organization. “Whether from natural disaster, accident or planned development, the demolition of an older property is a blow to our cultural heritage, undermines the wealth of our architectural character and adds additional waste to our landscape,” she said.

Trimble said once the Houser-Metzger House is moved, it will be renovated into a family home.

“We have had a lot of partners in this and are looking forward to working with community members and getting their support,” Trimble said. “It’s good for everyone. The developers won’t have to tear down the house, and we will be able to maintain a historic house and add a single-family home to the community. It is a situation where it is a win-win for everyone.”

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