At the ripe age of 175, the oldest home in Tampa is getting a new lease on life. Built in 1842, the four-bedroom, 2,000 square foot bungalow located near Ybor City was recently purchased by Tampa-based hedge fund Equialt for a modest $55,000.
The future of the home is still being discussed. But Brian Davison, CEO of Equialt, told the Tampa Bay Times that a much-needed renovation could run as much as $300,000. Options for the propertly reportedly include a bed and breakfast, an art gallery and a rental home.
Equialt is also seriously considering relocating the house away from the industrial community of Gary where it has proudly sat since 1914. "The plan is to restore it to pristine condition," Davison told the Times. "My concern is we will put a significant amount of money and time into a property that no one will visit. So we are considering moving it."
This won’t be the first time the historic home hits the road—it was moved once before when the city of Tampa decided to build its City Hall on the home's original plot on Jackson Street. The house’s most recent owners had plans to make it into a museum or a rental space for garden weddings or social meetings. But health problems halted their plans shortly after they finished gutting it. In 2013 Darryl Bethune and David Eisenmann reluctantly put the house on the market, and after many sleepless nights, decided to sell it to Davison. But there was a caveat built into the contract: the house cannot be used as a boarding home or be flipped.
But Davison says they have nothing to worry about. "I bought it because I saw it as a piece of Tampa history," he said. "It should be preserved correctly and brought back into the community."