In an impressive engineering feat, a Pleasant Street building that once housed a Bank of America branch has been moved 15 feet from its initial spot to make room for a new foundation, according to Stan Wildes and his team from Atkinson, New Hampshire, for whom lifting and moving buildings is all in a day’s work.
“We engage in some structural work, but primarily we move and lift buildings,” Wildes said during an interview at the site.
The endeavor had piqued curiosity around town, prompting a visit from the Marblehead Current. The 64-ton structure at 66 Pleasant St. is being transformed into a residence.
How do you move a 64-ton building? The procedure entails positioning the house on skates akin to an inverted army tank. Bit by bit, a crane then slides the house to its new location.
Drawing on his decades of experience as a house moving specialist, Wildes, confidently asserted the building would be moved within a day, despite the intricacies of the task.
Wildes disclosed that the move has been in the works for six to eight months, and was recently approved by Marblehead’s Old and Historic Districts Commission.
The team, which includes CenterCorp and SaltsmanBrenzel, is committed to maintaining the building’s historic aesthetic while planning to add a “carriage house” to the property.
Wildes’ crew of four, along with his grandson, who is poised to take over the business, move between 30 and 50 houses annually.
Once the moving process is complete, the building will remain a single-family residence. Wildes hinted at possible additions in the future, such as another structure or a garage.
“Each project has its challenges, but we figure things out and get it done,” Wildes said.
Wildes noted his team found no surprises in the foundation at 66 Pleasant St., although they have encountered time capsules and other relics in previous jobs.