nail house
n. A house that remains in place while a development project proceeds around it, particularly because the owner of the house stubbornly refuses to sell to developers.
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Sometimes, Chinese homeowners refuse to cash in, either because an offer is too low or for more principled reasons, and their property remains standing while the new project shoots up around it. Dingzihu, or "nail houses," as these won't-budge properties are called, have become symbols over the past several years of brave defiance of the powerful wealth that's driving new development.
—Laura Bliss, “Chinese 'Nail Houses' Won't Budge for New Development,” City Lab, April 13, 2015
The vacant lot is directly across from Edith Macefield's house: a nail house that was formed by developers building the current Blocks at Ballard Complex around the house after Mrs. Macefield refused to sell.
—Shane Harms, “Rezone of Blocks at Ballard II site on the 'table',” Ballard News-Tribune, November 10, 2014
Sometimes developers or local governments compensate or relocate those they kick out, usually offering less than the original property's value. Sometimes they don't.

But occasionally this combo of force and pay-out doesn’t work. The result is what is popularly called "nail houses" or "nail households," referring both to their residents' stubbornness and how they protrude on the skyline of already razed land.
—Gwynn Guilford & Roberto A. Ferdman, “China’s 'nail houses' cause construction delays and strange twists in roads,” Quartz, August 18, 2013
2006 (earliest)
This is the "nail house" in Chongqing, China — something that cannot be pulled out. The owner is Wu Jian, a local martial-arts champion. Vowing to protect his property, he unfurled a "Property Rights" banner on the roof of the house.
—“What U.S. landlords may have in common with Chinese peasants,” Landlord Politics, February 22, 2006
These buildings are called nail houses because, like a stubborn nail, they refused to be pulled out. The older term is holdout house, a phrase that dates to at least 1959.
Edith Macefield's Seattle nail house. Source: Wikipedia.

A nail house in Chongqing, China. The banner reads, "Property rights!!!" Source: Wikipedia.
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