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$1.35 Million New Jersey Mansion Was on Sale for Just $10 — No One Wanted to Buy It

Rita Kumar
May 30, 2022
09:00 P.M.
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Finding the least expensive deluxe house in the New York metropolitan area can be tricky. But in 2017, a property sales ad made headlines after a $1.35 million Victorian-era home was on sale for just $10. But to own this house, the buyer had to fulfill just one significant condition.


It is not often you hear about a property worth millions put up for sale for a steal price. And even if you do, would it outdo what this historic Montclair mansion was offered for?

The sprawling 4,000-square Victorian villa was what 44 Pleasant Avenue locals adored as a classic charm in their neighborhood. But in 2017, the fate of this $1.35 million mansion changed when it was advertised for sale for just $10. But why would anyone want to sell such a gorgeous villa for the price of candies?

Aubrey Lewis House | Source: YouTube/CBS New York



Dubbed the "Aubrey Lewis House," the vintage villa was built in 1906, and it offered more than just a shelter to its owners, husband and wife Aubrey and Ann Lewis.

One of the most-esteemed residents here, Aubrey Lewis, was the first African-American to have captained the Notre Dame Fighting Irish athletic team. He served in the FBI and became a senior executive at a Fortune 100 company. He was also profound for his seamless involvement in community affairs.

Aubrey and Ann Lewis raised their five children in this house, so undoubtedly, it meant more than stone and concrete to them. But things took a different turn after Aubrey Lewis's death in 2001, and Ann was left to decide the fate of this classic marvel.


Aubrey Lewis House | Source: YouTube/CBS New York


For nearly two decades, Ann Lewis supervised the property's future. But the final decision was made in 2017 when the Montclair Township Planning Board sold an area that housed the villa to Boddie-Noell Enterprises, a restaurant, and real estate developer, to raise a cluster of modern residences.


The advertisement was put up until August, but nobody showed up to buy the property after seeing a vital condition attached.

But as part of the deal, the classic "Aubrey Lewis House" wasn't signed up for demolition because it was the neighborhood's historical pride. Tearing down the Victorian villa was opposed by the Montclair Township Historic Preservation Commission, so they had to devise a plan to save it.

Aubrey Lewis House | Source: YouTube/CBS New York



Eventually, Montclair Township Planning Board voted on a motion to give the house a historical designation to save it from being torn down.

Unfortunately, the stipulated motion was called off after a tie-vote, prompting the homeowner and property developer to agree on an alternate plan.

Shortly after, the Montclair mansion hit the real estate market in July 2017 for a low price of $10. It was an affordable deal set to allure people to rush to the house in flocks and compete to buy it. But why did nobody seal the deal? Well, it was because of one major catch.


Aubrey Lewis House | Source: YouTube/CBS New York


The advertisement was put up until August, but nobody showed up to buy the property after seeing a vital condition attached: If anybody wanted to buy the villa, they'd have to move it within a quarter-mile!


Unsurprisingly, ownership of the Montclair mansion remained a dream for many after the sellers made it clear that the buyer would've to uproot the property from its current location to a new place at their expense.

The written resolution also stated that the property developers were ready to offer $10,000 towards the move, but not a dime more than that.

Aubrey Lewis House | Source: YouTube/CBS New York



The advertisement amassed widespread shock among interested buyers. On the other hand, Montclair residents felt the house should be preserved.

"It's not as much the material possessions," one of the neighbors, Ken Chase, agreed in an interview with CBS New York, adding:

"But it was the man's [Aubrey Lewis] character…the man's humility."

Montclair resident Ken Chase. | Source: YouTube/CBS New York



Meanwhile, the Lewis family's real estate agent Laurena White was asked if she'd ever seen or heard about uprooting a property of this size and historical value. White explained:

"No…All I can say is it's a very expensive proposition…In addition to moving it, the cost of any kind of repairs and renovation requires that it be done to historic guidelines…That tends to be really expensive."

White also estimated that uprooting the Montclair house to somewhere else would be impossible without the buyer spending hundreds of thousands of dollars just moving it. However, it wasn't the first time a property worth millions was advertised for sale for $10 or lesser.


Laurena White, the Lewis family's real estate agent. | Source: YouTube/CBS New York


The battle to protect the valued "Aubrey Lewis House" was eventually lost. The Victorian structure was shortly torn down, sinking its neighborhood in deep sorrow for losing one of their most treasured piece of history.


Today, eight modern residences dubbed "The Collection" have replaced the 110-year-old architectural marvel. According to reports, single-family homes on the plot that once jeweled the historic "Aubrey Lewis House" start at $800,000.

However, the street on which the new residences are located had been renamed to honor the late Aubrey Lewis. "I'm very pleased that they're honoring my father by naming the street Lewis Court," one of his children, Aubrey Lewis, Jr., told NJ.com.



In a similar story, it seemed too good to be true when Morgane Guihot from Nantes, France, sealed the deal on a $1 house in Italy, tucked in a scenic landscape away from the urban humdrum.

Guihot and her husband bought the house and refurbished it into a second family home for Christmas and summer getaways. Of course, the repairs and other fixes burnt a hole in their pocket, but the result was worth the hundreds of thousands of dollars they spent on fixing it.

However, the Montclair mansion remained an exception. As for its fate, "We never had anyone step forward that found [the home] was viable to buy and move," White told NJ.com. A year later, the architectural beauty had to be erased from history, which was saddening.


Do you think the "Aubrey Lewis House" could have survived the test of fate if somebody had bought the house? Considering the villa's history, what would you have done if you had enough money to fulfill the seller's condition?

Click here to read about a man who bought a storage unit for $500, found a safe inside, and was offered $1.2 million to return the contents.