City Council to consider selling historic house for preservation purpose

Published 11:57 am Friday, November 2, 2018

During its meeting Monday, Washington’s City Council is scheduled to consider approving an option for the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina to buy the former Carter house next to Brown Library.

The proposed purchase price is $60,000 (cash at closing), according to the proposed option. The option would expire in November 2019.

“This Option, if exercised, will ultimately result in the conveyance of this property to a third party that will be subject to a Preservation or Rehabilitation Agreement as well as Restrictive or Protective covenants,” according to a city document. City staff prepared the option agreement with assistance from Maggie Gregg, regional director, eastern office, The Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina.

In July, city officials and Preservation North Carolina officials began working together to try to save the historic house. A move by the city to demolish the house, which the city bought for $80,000 to help facilitate potential expansion of the library, was met with an outcry from several people and organizations wanting to save and preserve the house. At its April meeting, the City Council instructed City Manager Bobby Roberson not to issue a purchase order to pay for demolishing the house and to work with Preservation North Carolina to explore options to save the house.

In a letter to Roberson, Gregg wrote, “Once the option is executed, Preservation North Carolina would then begin marketing this property to find a buyer to restore the home at a slightly higher price than the agreed to option price.”

IN THE DETAILS: This carved newel post top is one of many unique design elements found in the Carter house. (Vail Stewart Rumley/Daily News)

Gregg noted that amount likely would be about $10,000 higher than the option price, “as in our experience buyers most often make an offer on the properties lower than the asking price.” Gregg explained that the difference in the option price and sale price is the only financial benefit Preservation North Carolina receives, with the money used to offset expenses it incurs working with the property.

Preservation North Carolina requires the buyer of a property it is working on to agree to a rehabilitation agreement that includes a plan and timeline for restoration, with those covenants running with the deed in perpetuity and being monitored continually, according to the letter.

A cross between Tudor Revival and Colonial Revival on a small scale, this modest brick home on West Second Street was purchased by the City of Washington in August 2015. Then city officials petitioned the Historic Preservation Commission to remove the home from the property to make room for the expansion of Brown Library. It’s not large, but it once housed a family of four, with a governess, mother-in-law and aunt. Its Art Deco-period details make preservationists want to do what they can to save this little piece of Washington history.

Since the home was purchased by the City of Washington, officials have debated what to do with the brick home built in 1935 by Henry Clay Carter.

Vail Stewart Rumley contributed to this article.



About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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