The first home was moved Thursday morning to make way for a new Kroger Marketplace shopping center near Oak Ridge Turnpike and Illinois Avenue.
Ten more houses on Robin Lane and Iris Circle areÂ ready to move, and a total of 25 have to be relocated,Â said Micheal Mills of M&M House Movers in Harrogate. Mills hopes to move them all by March 1.
The small, brown home moved Thursday was taken to a 13-acre farm on Blair Road in Roane County, Mills said. The man who owns the farm has purchased two of the Oak Ridge homes for his family to use on the farm.
The 11-mile drive was expected to take about three hours. The man driving the moving truck Thursday,Â Sonny Asher of New Way House Moving in Harrogate, which is working with M&M, said each home weighs about 20 to 30 tons.
Mills said about half of the 25 homes that are being moved have sold. The rest will be taken to storage spaces.
He said the homes are selling in the low $20,000 price range and are about an average of 1,000 to 1,100 square feet. The purchase price includes relocation, although the buyer has to have a lot and foundation.
The home moved Thursday was accompanied by an armada of vehicles, including an Anderson County Sheriff’s Department escort, Comcast trucks, and Oak Ridge Electric Department trucks. The escorts helped control traffic and ensured that the home did not hit cable, phone, and traffic signal lines.
The $30 million, 25-acre Kroger shopping center could open early in 2014 at one of the city’s busiest intersections. It will feature a 113,000-square-foot Kroger Marketplace and 12,000 square feet of small shop space, as well as four to five small lots with unidentified tenants.
It will replace a neighborhood of about 55 homes, two hotels, a restaurant, day care center, and church. A Kroger real estate manager has said home demolition at the site could begin in February.
The Oak Ridge City Council has approved a new stoplight on North Illinois Avenue for the shopping center, approved rezonings for the project, and agreed to give up Iris Circle and Robin Lane for the development.