Spain House to stay put for right now

TUPELO – Despite a recent newspaper ad soliciting bids to remove the Spain House from its downtown lot, no one can touch the historic structure for at least six months.
And there’s a chance it won’t be able to move at all.
Calvary Baptist Church, which owns the house, ran the classified ad in the Daily Journal on Monday and will run it again the next three consecutive Mondays.
The ad “requests bids from interested groups or individuals to remove and relocate the building located at 553 West Main Street, known as the Spain House.” It says “preference will be given to bidders who agree to restore the home.”
But last month the Tupelo Historic Preservation Commission nominated the century-old home as a local historic landmark. That action put a hold on any demolition, major renovation or attempts to remove the structure for six months.
In Council’s hands
The delay gives the commission time to win approval for the designation from the City Council, which can grant or reject it. According to the commission, a public hearing has been set on the matter for 6 p.m., Aug. 4, in the City Council chambers.
The council is expected to make its decision the same evening.
If the council votes to accept the designation, the house must remain on the lot indefinitely and will be protected by the commission, said BJ Teal, director of the city’s Development Services Department.
If the council rejects the designation, the six-month deadline still must expire before the church can allow someone to move the house – or demolish it.
The church representative listed in the ad, Michael Lunceford, did not return a call to the Daily Journal for comment.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.

Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal