City of Tupelo may take over Spain House

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The endangered Spain House could find a new location pending a potential deal between its owner and the city.
If all goes as planned, the city would take possession of the century-old home and relocate it to a vacant municipal lot. The current owner, Calvary Baptist Church, would retain the property on which the house sits and be able to develop it to suit its needs.
Calvary, which purchased the house as part of a multi-lot package in 2006, said it’s too expensive to renovate the aging structure and wants it gone. Because efforts to give away the home had been unsuccessful, the church now wants to demolish it.
Unless, of course, someone is willing to take it.
The deal with the city is in its infancy stages and must overcome several obstacles before it’s approved, said members of the Historic Preservation Commission.
The group talked briefly about the plan Thursday during its monthly meeting at City Hall. It will meet again Tuesday to discuss the plan in detail, but until then, members declined to provide any specifics.
The commission, which last year won local historic protection for the house, wants to seal a deal before its next meeting with Calvary. The church in February had asked the commission for a demolition permit despite the home’s historic status, citing financial hardship. It would cost an estimated $600,000 to renovate the structure.
A decision on the matter was tabled and still is pending. No meeting date for that has been set.
The three-story home sits on the corner of Main and Madison streets downtown and is one of the few remaining structures to have survived the 1936 tornado.

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.