The 1951 Ruth and A.M. Fleishman residence, a once-exemplary Mid-Century Modern house in Fayetteville, NC, will be sold by online auction soon, and could go for as little as $78,100 although the current tax value is $280,317, according to auctioneer Sarah Sonke of AuctionFirst.com in Raleigh.
Bidding on the house that’s been compared to Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Usonian” houses of the 1930s and ‘40s started on Monday, Oct. 14 and continues until 7 p.m. November 13th. The published reserve is only $78,000, so the highest bid just over that (plus a 10 percent buyer premium) will win the 2800-sq. ft. three-bedroom house at 2614 Morganton Rd.
So what’s the catch?
According to Sonke, who successfully conducted the recent auction of James Taylor’s Modernist childhood home in Chapel Hill, this Mid-Century Modern gem in Fayetteville needs a lot of TLC.
In 2009, the Fayetteville Modern Architecture Survey offered this description of the house designed by one of the most prominent architects of the time, Edward Loewenstein of Greensboro:
“The Fleishman House remains one of Fayetteville’s best examples of residential Modernism: The house beautifully exhibits the Modernist approach of enclosing space rather than carving it out of a structure. The roughly T-shaped form combines a long, flat-roofed wing housing bedrooms and bathrooms with a more expansive public wing with dramatic shed roof housing a living room, dining room, sunroom, kitchen, and powder room. The soaring ceiling of the public space, combined with walls of windows to dissolve the separation between indoors and outdoors, create a feeling of openness that contrasts markedly with the sheltered feeling in the private wing. These contrasting spaces recall the similar effect found in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian houses of the 1930s and 1940s…”
Unfortunately, the Fleishman house became vacant three years after the City of Fayetteville published its survey. Without someone around to take care of it, the house has deteriorated significantly, resulting in serious water damage to the ceilings, rotting wood in several places, missing windows and failed window seals, old unusable plumbing and wiring, and asbestos-tainted linoleum tiles. Oh, and it’s going to need a new roof.
“But it’s all recoverable,” says George Smart, founder and director of North Carolina Modernist Houses, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Mid-Century Modern houses statewide. Smart’s group paid for independent inspections and an appraisal. “The inspection report clearly states that a professional contractor could make all of the repairs. Nothing is beyond hope at this time. With the right buyer, this house could be saved and become another stellar example of Mid-Century Modernist design in North Carolina.”
Right now, this endangered house is listed on the MLS as a teardown.
For more information on the auction, to see more photographs, and to place a bid, go to www.auctionfirstbid.com and click on The Fleishman House or contact Sarah Sonke at (919) 601-7339, AuctionFirstInfo@gmail.com.