It’s not often that buildings get police escorts.
In a little less than two hours, Jane and Georgie in Rehoboth Beach made its trek from 419 Rehoboth Ave. to its new home on Burton Street in West Rehoboth.
East Coast Structural Movers, under the supervision of driver John Davidson, began moving the store around 8:45 a.m. Feb. 19. From there, the store went around the circle and down Rehoboth Avenue Extended, where it ran a gauntlet of electrical and telephone wires, lifted as the truck came through by crews from Verizon and Delmarva Power. To assist the move, Rehoboth Beach Police and Delaware State Police temporarily blocked off Rehoboth Avenue Extended to traffic.
The building, which traces its origins to 1901, will be converted into an affordable, single-family house. It is one of five relocated homes the Coalition for West Rehoboth hopes to bring to a neighborhood that traces its roots back to the post-Civil War era.
Kevin McKinney, project manager for the Coalition for West Rehoboth, said, “It’s such a great thing to be able to provide decent housing for someone. The fact that this is a historic house, going into a historic neighborhood - it’s really the perfect place for it.”
McKinney said five families have applied to live in the house, and the coalition is reviewing those applications with an eye on selecting a family at the end of the month. The coalition still needs $25,000 to build the foundation for the house, and McKinney said East Coast might donate the foundation. He said enough money has been raised for the sewer connection, although more is still needed for the water connection and renovations.
“It needs a new kitchen; it needs a bathroom done. There’s no kitchen in it at all,” McKinney said. He added that he hopes the home will be ready for occupation by the end of spring.
Kate Chambers, co-owner of Jane and Georgie with sister Lisa, said, “It’s exciting and sad. I’m excited that it's finally moving day, but I’m kind of sad to see it go. It was more upsetting when I saw them coming in and tearing it all apart to get it ready.”
Jane and Georgie plans to build a new store at the now-vacant lot, but the plans have been slowed by delays in getting permits.
“I’m hoping it could be March, but it could be April,” Chambers said.
Still, she is glad the old building did not get demolished.
“That would have been a horrible sight,” Chambers said. “Worse than seeing it get moved. It’s such a cute little building. I want to see it once they get it all set.”