Organizers failed to reach their fundraising target to move the home once owned by Edith Macefield by barge to Orcas Island.

Share story

The fate of the famous Ballard house once owned by Edith Macefield, a symbol of anti-development in Seattle, is back in limbo after the latest plan to ship the home to Orcas Island failed.

OPAL Community Land Trust, an affordable-housing nonprofit, has backed away from the project after failing to reach its $205,000 fundraising goal to help move and renovate the so-called “Up” house to avoid its demolition.

“We gave it our best shot,” said Lisa Byers, OPAL’S executive director. “We’re sorry that it can’t be” possible.

The campaign raised about 9 percent of its fundraising target to help move the house across water and remodel it for a family to live in.

Nicknamed after the 2009 Pixar film, the “Up” house is wedged between towering concrete walls near the Ballard Bridge and has been widely celebrated for Macefield’s fight against demolition in a neighborhood booming with commercialization.

She at one point reportedly turned down an offer of more than $750,000 to leave the tiny house, and since her death in 2008, the house’s future has been in flux.

Real estate broker Paul Thomas, who had been managing the property, said in August that potential buyers have been unable to afford renovations to keep the structure in line with city building codes. That makes relocation the most desirable option to avoid it getting destroyed, he said.

Thomas said on Friday he sold the land and property last month to the owner of the office and shopping center that surround the tiny home at 1438 N.W. 46th St. The property owner is managed by KG Investment Management in Seattle, he said.

John Speirs, senior vice president with KG Investment, said he’s not heard anything from his client regarding the future of the house.

In a statement, OPAL said the current property owner has extended the opportunity for another party to step in to make sure the house isn’t destroyed, and that the owner also wants to find a new location for the home to be renovated for a family.

“I do not expect it to be coming down tomorrow, or next month, or even next year,” Thomas said.