In 2005, in West Cape May, NJ, a developer demolished the historic Moffitt House, a circa 1770, pre-Revolution Colonial — despite outrage and preservationists’ active plans to save the house by moving it. A report by Jack Fichter of the Cape May County Herald notes that the demolition of the former B&B proceeded with “most of its original wood floors, mantles and doors in place,” which were just “crushed and hauled away.” Ugh. (Photo above by Gary Novak).
The result? The “developer” half-built the condos & then abandoned them as the market went sour. Now they stand empty, molding, and without kitchens or bathrooms, or garage doors (see right) — waiting to be demolished, themselves. The developer now owes $1.6 million total for his purchase, demolition, and half-construction, and he’s working with the bank to try to “short-sale” the property (the lending bank says it needs at least $1.3 million). So it was complete failure and a rare historic property in Cape May was lost for absolutely nothing.
It sounds like the only positive to come out of this disaster was that it prompted West Cape May to create an Historic Preservation Committee (HPC) and the local History Committee to thoroughly survey the local historic resources. However, it was all too late to successfully save the Moffitt House. (Full article with additional photos here).