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Elderly 'Up' homeowner turned down the million-dollar offer, forced mall to build around her home

She had bought the property for $3,750 in 1952 and lived there with her mother until her death in 2008.

Elderly 'Up' homeowner turned down the million-dollar offer, forced mall to build around her home
YouTube screenshot/CBSN

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on June 27, 2022. It has since been updated.

In 2006, Edith Macefield became a local hero by standing up to corporate power. Her Seattle home was surrounded by a mall on three sides. At 84, Macefield was approached by developers wanting to build a mall where her house stood. She had bought the property for $3,750 in 1952 and lived there with her mother, Alice, while working as a store manager at Spic 'N' Span Cleaners. By 2006, the house was 108 years old. Developers were buying properties in the area to build a mall, reported Fox Business.



 

While other properties were sold, Macefield refused to give up her land. Despite being small and over 100 years old, her property was crucial to the mall’s plans. Developers offered her $750,000, then $1 million, but Macefield wasn’t motivated by money and refused. With no other option, they built a five-story complex around her home. Her stand against corporate power drew comparisons to Pixar's 2009 film "Up," where an elderly widower refuses to sell his house despite encroaching high-rises.

Up poster/Disney-Pixar

 

While many claimed the movie was inspired by the story, the production of the movie actually started in 2004, while Macefield refused to sell her home in 2006. However, Disney, which distributed the film, used Macefield's home to promote the movie because of the similarities in their stories. A huge set of colorful balloons were tied to the top of the home, just like the movie. “They wanted to put balloons on the house for their premiere here in Seattle. So they came out and put balloons on the house and took a picture, and that’s how it became the 'Up' house,” said Barry Martin, a construction manager on the plot, who was also great friends with Macefield.



 

Many speculated Macefield was taking a stand against big money, but she simply didn’t want to move. She had lived there most of her life and couldn’t imagine moving at 84. Barry Martin, the construction manager, confirmed this. She saw him not as a threat, but as a friend. Their relationship grew so strong that she left her home to him when she passed away in 2008.



 

Martin supported her in her final years, driving her to appointments, helping with laundry, taking her to doctors, and even cooking her meals. During an economic crisis, he had to sell the property with her blessing. “She told me to hold out until I got my price. I sold it for $310,000,” Barry Martin told Fox Business. “A lot of people thought she was against the development, but that wasn’t the case at all," she said. It was more a case of she didn’t want to go through the exercise of having to move.”

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