14 Times Stubborn Homeowners Refused To Move, And Faced Unexpected Consequences


Despite all offers the most stubborn real estate owners of all time resisted every attempt by powerful developers to drive them out, staying put while neighboring properties were demolished.. Against all odds, their real estate holdouts remained and they defied the developers. Let’s see 15 notable examples from around the world.

Developers Build a Mall Around It

84-year-old Edith Macefield became a local hero after she made developers build their mall around her house after turning down a million-dollar offer for her farmhouse. After buying the house in 1952 for $3,750 in 1952 she lived there with her mother Alice while working as a store manager at local cleaners.

Source: Twitter/Hardywolf359

Edith was adamant that she wouldn’t allow the house to be leveled and refused the offer, so the builders were left with no other choice than to build the complex around the house. The house is still standing tall right in the middle of the complex.

Mary Cook Vs. Manhattan Apartment Developers

After Mary Cook’s husband had died tragically and her children had flown the nest, she was the only one left in the home. An onslaught of developers descended on the neighborhood and persuaded Cook’s neighbors to sell, but the widow refused to budge.

Source: wirednewyork

Eventually, the attractive original building was partly demolished to make way for two lofty apartment blocks.

Vera Coking Turned Down Millions Twice

Vera Coking bought a property for $20,000 and about 10 years after she bought her house, a well known publisher, Bob Guccione, offered her $1 million dollars for it. He had plans to build a casino and hotel but Vera declined his offer. Eventually construction began despite her not selling but halted due to financial issues.

Source: Jack Boucher Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Later Donald Trump bought nearby lots to build a limousine parking lot and offered Vera money as well but after 32 years in her house, she refused to sell. Ultimately the city used eminent domain, offering her only $251,000, a quarter of Guccione’s offer, a decade earlier.

Siegel-Cooper vs. Macy’s Department Store

Macy’s had big plans and in order to fulfill its ambition to become the largest department store on the planet, it was forced to build around a huge structure on Manhattan’s Herald Square.

Source: Irving Underhill Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

After discovering Macy’s plan to buy up the entire block, rival retailer Siegal-Cooper, in an effort to thwart Macy’s, purchased a plot on the corner of Broadway and 34th Street and erected the five-floor building on the site.

Saint Joseph Catholic Church vs. Joske’s of Texas

Joske’s of Texas bought the church-owned St. Joseph College a couple of lots away from Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church and later made an offer as high as $200,000 to buy the church property, according to the parish history book.

Source: Clipper471 Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The church unanimously refused the deal, a source of pride to this day and the reason for the parish’s enduring nickname, St. Joske’s.

Wu Ping and Yang Wu vs. Chongqing shopping mall Developers

In 2004, developers approached the Wu’s with plans to demolish their property for a shopping mall. The Wu’s, unimpressed by the low-ball offer, declined to relocate, even though all their neighbors had already accepted buyout offers.

Source: venture160

In an effort to drive them out, the developers cut off water and power services and proceeded with construction on the site, leaving their home perched on a raised mound.

Randal Acker vs. TriMet

In 2005, lawyer Randal Acker purchased a charming Queen Anne house in downtown Portland for $380,000 and christened the property the Figo House after his dog. The house served as the attorney’s office. Yet a year after he bought it, Acker’s property was facing the bulldozers.

Source: Visitor7 CC BY-SA 3.0

TriMet, Portland’s mass transit authority, tried to get the house condemned and gain possession with the intention of selling it to the university for high-rise student housing. Acker managed to thwart the plan arguing that the eminent domain power has limits. He won and later screened a documentary on the property likening his house to the one that inspired the movie “Up.”

Apartment Block Residents Vs. The Government Of Guangzhou

This apartment block and home in the city of Guangzhou make for an odd sight given they are encircled by an overpass.

Source: chinadaily

Before the highway’s construction in 2008, the local authorities tried and failed to remove three families residing in the buildings.

Luo Baogen vs. the Government of Wenling

Luo Baogen had scrimped and saved the equivalent of almost $77,000 to build his home in Wenling, China, so when the local government approached him to buy the property for $28,000 in order to demolish it to construct a highway, the hard-working duck farmer was understandably up in arms.

Source: nationalpost

Faced with Luo’s refusal to leave, the government decided to go ahead and build the road around it anyway.

Austin Spriggs in D.C.

Austin Spriggs and his wife, Gladys, both 69, bought the two-story house originally for $135,000 and decided to use it as an office for his architecture firm.

Source: thecityfix

Developers approached him with an aim to build large apartment buildings and offered Spriggs $3 million dollars. He turned them down only to later sell for $4 million.

Too High To Buy

The founders of this hotel couldn’t buy these houses due to the high asking price. So they decided to build the hotel around the two houses.

Source: Roeland Koning

The result was an interesting mix of old and new where the 2 houses were incorporated into the property as souvenir shops.

Neighborhood Watering Hole

In Charlotte’s Plaza Midwood, The Thirsty Beaver, a small dive bar is surrounded by apartment buildings on three sides. Despite ongoing disputes over the land, the owners refused to sell forcing developers to build around them.

Source: Reddit/AllCarsEatGas

The new apartment complex towers over The Beaver and even though the land changed hands in 2015, the owners of the bar signed a new lease and to this day remain with no intention of relocating anytime soon.

The Middle of The Road

A nail house sits in the middle of a road under construction in Nanning, China, in April 2015.

Source: China Stringer Network

The owner of the house didn’t reach an agreement with the local authority about compensation for the demolition.

Split Decision

People walking past 54-1/2 St. Patrick Street in Toronto, are in for a quirky sight. It looks like aliens beamed up half of this 1890s duplex, leaving this very strange empty space. It turns out one of the residents refused to sell their property so they cut it in half leaving the stubborn seller with their property and demolishing the piece they bought.


This had most passers-by doing a double-take. Just goes to show, when you’re attached to your place, you might go to some crazy lengths to keep it, even living in a different kind of halfway-house.

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Ben Miller

Written by Ben Miller

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