VOL. 114 | NO. 100 | Tuesday, May 23, 2000
By Stacey Wiedower
Facelift project begins
on Victorian Village home
By Stacey Wiedower
The Daily News
Renovation work started Monday at 669 Jefferson Ave. in Victorian Village on an 1,800-square-foot town house and its 750-square-foot carriage house, which soon will re-emerge as three fully restored apartment units.
Renovation of the 137-year-old, Victorian-style home, which was used as a single-family residence for about 20 years then converted into two apartments in the late 1880s, will take about four months, said Scott Blake, owner and art director of Design 500, an exhibit design firm whose clients include museums, international trade show organizations, theaters and motion picture companies.
Previous owners had allowed the property to fall into disrepair over the years, Blake said. With his business/residence located next door to the house, he said he decided to use his love and talent for refurbishing historic properties to restore the property to its former glory.
"I saw the place deteriorating, and in order to help protect the property value here, and since Ive always been in love with historical structures, we put together the plan to buy it and do the restoration," Blake said.
Blake and his roommate and partner in the venture, Mark Johnson, who works for Rodgers Menzies Interior Design, closed on the house a little more than a week ago.
"I wanted to make sure that all the incentives were in place before we closed on it," Blake said.
The project received a $44,500 development loan from the Center City Development Corp. and a 10-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes abatement from the Center City Revenue Finance Corp., said Jim Street, vice president of finance for the Center City Commission.
In addition, a state historical group has granted the project tentative approval for federal incentives, Blake added.
The cost of the renovation is estimated at about $110,000 above the houses purchase price, Blake said. Total development costs are estimated at about $258,000, according to the Center City Commission.
The renovation work will include a complete tear-out and replacement of all electrical and plumbing work; however, the exterior walls and most interior walls will remain in place.
"It will have completely new roofing, and were putting in very high-end kitchens with granite tops, and marble baths," Blake said.
The two apartments in the main house will contain about 1,200 square feet each, and the new carriage house apartment will contain 700 to 750 square feet.
"We may be doing one unit as a furnished, extended stay apartment for businessmen in town for a month or two at a time," Blake said.
Extension of the trolley line along Madison Avenue will make the Victorian Village area along Jefferson more convenient to Downtown businesses, he added.
The project is Blakes and Johnsons third large-scale home restoration. The pair restored a home in Sardis, Miss., that is on the National Register of Historic Places, and also restored their residence at 671 Madison.
Blakes company, Design 500, also has completed several Downtown projects, including the fire museum and a structure at 390 S. Main, which recently won an award from Memphis Heritage for commercial rehabilitation of a historic space.
"We enjoy working Downtown," Blake said. "Its so fun to see all the growth going on, and were glad to be a part of it."