New hurdle in mansion moving plans

Local News
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — There’s a new roadblock in the way of plans to move the Burnham Mansion. 

The deadline of August 10 to move the building to make room for Central High School’s expansion is nearing. 

Chris Enck, the buyer, says there’s a problem with the paperwork. The bank needs more information, and it’s stalling the loan process. It brings what was nearly a done deal to an uncertain future.

Now, instead of relief the mansion would likely be moved soon, preservationists are hoping for a miracle.

“It means a lot to Champaign County, with the architecture and the history behind this house, so it’s very important to save it.”

But now, chances of the Burnham Mansion finding a new footprint down the street, are slim.

“It’s not dead yet, but it’s certainly a setback here at the last minute.”

The buyer only has until Monday to show the school district proof of purchase for the lot he’s moving the mansion to.

He thinks someone would have to buy the land immediately, and he did have someone lined up to do that, but it fell through.

Preservationists like Tod Satterthwaite say they’re still hopeful, but now reality is setting in.

“We’re getting close to the final deadline as far as the construction timetable with Unit 4 is concerned. Hopefully Chris is able to put this together at the last minute here.”

Todd Salen, the realtor representing Chris Enck, says the outlook is grim.

“They’ve extended it several times, and they need to have the house removed from the lot in order for them to begin the construction process. Unless a miracle happens between now and Monday, probably seven o’clock, it means the mansion is probably going to be torn down.”

Salen says they weren’t expecting the deal to run into a roadblock at this point. They don’t know how long it will take for the process to be done.

“We’ve tried everything we can, but at this point, fate has said it’s time to move on.”

It’s left some, like Satterthwaite, hoping for some more wiggle room.

“We’d hate to see it scuttled because of a timeframe that could be loosened up a little bit. We won’t lose hope until the building is down.”

If the August 10 deadline isn’t met, the school board says the house will have to come down so they can move forward with Central High School’s expansion.

The Burnham Mansion isn’t the only property Chris Enck was looking to move. There’s two other buildings next to the Burnham Mansion. All three buildings would have fit on the lot a block away.

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