Giant Truck Hauls Big Bungalow Down Hollywood Street

The house is the only structure that's been moved this year in Los Angeles, according to the city.

Lit up and on wheels, lugged by a truck much smaller than itself, a family's 1,400-square foot blue bungalow began a slow, roaring roll down the streets of Hollywood last week.

A little less than three miles and two hours later, at about 3 a.m. that Wednesday morning, the procession of the structure hissed to a halt. A group of movers in orange vests gathered round to attend to its landing.

Andrew and Christine Raitt's house had reached its new lot -- fully furnished, orchid still standing on the kitchen countertop.

Now, the bungalow sits at the corner of a Los Feliz neighborhood, still unoccupied until its new foundation is finished where a house damaged by fire once sat. It's the only structure that's been moved this year in Los Angeles, according to city officials.

"It's something that's just sort of been lost," said Jessica Rivas, director of administration and operations at the Heritage Square museum, which showcases Victorian homes saved from demolition. "People don't do that anymore."

Last year, two houses and part of a fire station were moved, according to Heather Johnson, a spokeswoman with the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation. Before 2015, the last time a house had been moved in the city was in 2011, she said. About a decade ago, the number of structures moved in LA per year was in the double digits.

The Raitts' house-moving journey began three years ago, when they purchased a California bungalow on Gordon Street in Hollywood and remodeled their dream home.


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Ultimately, they couldn't turn down an offer from a developer for the land, but they couldn't give up their nearly century-old home. To let go of their four walls and roof felt "unbearable," Andrew Raitt said, who co-owns with his wife a real estate development company.

They spent nearly a year working out details of their move. They needed a $51 permit and $1 million insurance. They hired a city inspector for $286 and a moving company that specializes in oversized objects.

And because this wasn't your basic pack-em up and move, a street fixture had to be temporarily uprooted. Conveniently -- although it's not the case with every house move -- the one-story bungalow fit underneath city utility lines.

Moving furniture is tough. Moving a house sounds nearly impossible.

Arnie Corlin, who used to work as a broker in the Los Angeles house moving industry and now works as a rental property owner and real estate consultant, described his last move in 2001 as "a nightmare."

Cable television, fiber optic wires and strict regulations on asbestos and retrofitting make it harder today, he said.

"When I started doing it was the late 80s, and back then it was much simpler," Corlin said.

In the Victorian era, all the wealth was in the house, Rivas said.

"Today, it's the complete opposite," she said. "All of the value is in the land. A lot of people just don't see the inherent value in the house anymore."

The Raitts almost gave up. They struggled to find a location that made financial sense. They had a toddler in tow and a baby on the way.

Christine Raitt was worried about the house surviving the move.

"I was afraid that something drastic would happen -- the wall, you know, crumbling or something," she said. "We had minor, very, very minor damages, like cracks in the drywall."

But at the end of the trip, the house was still theirs and still intact.

"One morning you wake up, and there's this house," Andrew Raitt said.

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