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Buying a piece of history: Market for antebellum homes changing in Columbus

 

FRANKLIN SQUARE 806 Third Ave. N. ■ Built: 1835 ■ Specs: 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms. 5,700 square feet. 1.5-acre lot ■ History: This house is distinct because it was constructed with two

FRANKLIN SQUARE 806 Third Ave. N. ■ Built: 1835 ■ Specs: 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms. 5,700 square feet. 1.5-acre lot ■ History: This house is distinct because it was constructed with two "fronts." The original "front" faced Fifth Street, opposite Franklin Academy while the Third Avenue "front" was built in the 1870s. Franklin Square was one of the homes featured in the fist Columbus Pilgrimage in 1940. ■ Listing Price: $899,900 ($158 per square foot) Photo by: Slim Smith/Dispatch Staff

 

CAMELLIA PLACE 416 Seventh St. N. ■ Built: 1847 ■ Specs: 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms. 6,000 square feet. 1.6-acre lot. ■ History: Built by Philadelphia-trained architect James Lull as his residence. Lull also built many of the city's finest structures, including First Baptist Church and the Stephen D. Lee Home. Lull is credited for bringing Greek Revival architecture to the city. ■ Listing Price: $595,000 ($99 per square foot)

CAMELLIA PLACE 416 Seventh St. N. ■ Built: 1847 ■ Specs: 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms. 6,000 square feet. 1.6-acre lot. ■ History: Built by Philadelphia-trained architect James Lull as his residence. Lull also built many of the city's finest structures, including First Baptist Church and the Stephen D. Lee Home. Lull is credited for bringing Greek Revival architecture to the city. ■ Listing Price: $595,000 ($99 per square foot)
Photo by: Slim Smith/Dispatch Staff

 

TAYNORE 806 Third Ave. N. ■ Built: 1854 ■ Specs: 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. 5,700 square feet. 0.25-acre lot. ■ History: Best known as the residence of Rev. Thomas Teasdale, pastor at First Baptist Church from 1858-63. Teasdale is best remembered today for his grave-marker at Friendship Cemetery, which features a

TAYNORE 806 Third Ave. N. ■ Built: 1854 ■ Specs: 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. 5,700 square feet. 0.25-acre lot. ■ History: Best known as the residence of Rev. Thomas Teasdale, pastor at First Baptist Church from 1858-63. Teasdale is best remembered today for his grave-marker at Friendship Cemetery, which features a "weeping angel" statuary, considered among the nation's great iconic graves. ■ Listing Price: $249,900 ($83 per square foot)
Photo by: Slim Smith/Dispatch Staff

 

Dick Leike

Dick Leike

 

Colin Krieger

Colin Krieger

 

 

Slim Smith

 

 

There are dozens of homes for sale in Columbus, but three historic homes on the market on the city's north side, all within a few blocks of each other, have become a source of curiosity. 

 

Think of them as "name-brand" homes -- Franklin Square, Taynore and Camellia Place, antebellum homes built between 1835 and 1854. 

 

In Columbus, old homes have names -- either named for, or chosen by, their most prominent owner. They are reminders of an earlier time, way of life and style, said Dick Leike, founder of Crye-Leike Realty, who has both bought and sold historic homes throughout his long career. 

 

"I always tell people that it takes people with a particular kind of soul to want these old houses," said Leike, who owns two historic homes on the city's Southside (his residence, White Arches, which he bought in 2002, and the sprawling Riverview, which he purchased in 2016 and is currently renovating). "A lot of people don't see the charm simply because they are old houses." 

 

Colin Krieger, a Realtor with RE/MAX, said the market in downtown Columbus, where many of the older homes are located, is changing, due mainly to the availability of lower down payment requirements. 

 

"Because so much of the area is 16th Section land, the lending requirements were pretty restrictive -- 20-percent down," Krieger said. "Now, those requirements have been changed. In fact, about 30 percent of the home loans in Columbus are zero-down. As a result, you're seeing younger people and more families move downtown. The overall market is up about 6 percent. Sales on Northside are stronger than they've been in years and the sales are record-breaking on Southside." 

 

As a result, a lot of the bigger, older homes are finding a new kind of buyer. 

 

"The big market for these (historic) homes has been older people who are retiring and want to enjoy the lifestyle they offer," Leike said. "Usually, someone looks for a home where they live. With these homes, it's often the other way around: People are living where they find this kind of home." 

 

Leike, himself, was among that group, moving to Columbus after purchasing White Arches. 

 

"I've advertised these kinds of homes all over the world, as far away as Hong Kong," said Leike, whose company is listing both Camellia Place and Taynore. 

 

Leike said another big change is also influencing the market for the older, bigger homes. 

 

"Now, you are seeing a lot of people buying homes and converting them to bed-and-breakfasts or places to hold events, like weddings and parties," he said. "I like that idea. These homes were built to entertain, so in a sense, people are getting back to that idea." 

 

Krieger said affordable prices are luring a different demographic to those homes, too. 

 

"You are seeing families with children," said Krieger, a father of three, who lives in a Northside home built in 1909. 

 

Nate Miller, 44, bought Belle Bridge from Chance Laws in October, nine years after Laws first put it on the market. 

 

"I guess we are kind of outliers for our demographic," said Miller, who has a young daughter. "But I do think it's going to start coming around. The antique market, for example, is almost non-existent, which means antiques are pretty cheap right now. It's the same with older homes. They're probably as cheap as they're going to be for the next decade."' 

 

Leike said the older homes are a bargain when you consider the cost per square-foot. 

 

"We have both Camellia Place and Taynore under $100 per square-foot," he said. "Compare that to new construction. Anything built with quality materials is going to be in the $150 per square-foot." 

 

Krieger said he believes owners of older homes may be encouraged to put their houses on the market by the sale of Riverview -- which had languished on the market for more than 20 years until Leike bought it -- and the pending sale of Waverley Mansion in Clay County. 

 

"When they see that, they think, 'Maybe I can really sell my house,'" Krieger said.  

 

Another factor is selling these homes is that many of the reasons that discouraged people from buying older homes are somewhat mitigated. 

 

"The first thing you hear is the cost of heating and maintenance," Leike said. "While it's true that these old homes require maintenance, it's also true that these are quality homes. When they were built, they were built by people who were educated and knew what the latest and greatest features were. They had the money to go to Europe and see what was happening there. These were wealthy people, and they built homes to show off. The quality of the work was exceptional. 

 

"Then you factor in the efficiency of modern heating systems," he added. "That's really taken away some of the concerns." 

 

Miller said his family has enjoyed their new "old" home. 

 

"My wife, Selena, had always loved the old Southern charm," Miller said. "So when we saw this home and realized how much Chance and Gail had put into renovating it and getting everything in great shape, those fears about what you get in an old home were taken care of. We love the history of and the charm of the Southside. It's been great."

 

Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]

 

 

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