After garnering support with a Facebook campaign, a Richmond resident convinced a team of developers to change their plans for a 19th century home next to Byrd Park.
Castle Kanawha 1508 LLC, headed by Ben Partridge and J. Mark Slack, had originally planned to bulldoze the neglected 125-year-old Marburg House at 3020 Rugby Rd. and build five or six houses on the 1-acre lot.
But William Lipps made it his personal mission to save Marburg House and the developers then agreed to sell him the home and a slice of its lot for $605,000. Partridge and Slack will now build four new houses on the rest of the property.
“It had been on the market for a long time before we bought it,” Patridge said of Marburg. “Initially, we didn’t feel there was an interest in it, but then we had someone come to us and want to buy it.”
Castle Kanawha, which had owned the property for about a year, expects to start construction on the four new houses in the next two or three months in a subdivision to be called Carillon Place.
The 2,500- to 4,000-square-foot homes will range in price from $779,000 to about $900,000, Partridge said.
Partridge, a Realtor with One South Realty, said they’ve selected local builders Ellington Homes and HomeKeepers for the project. David Johannas, of Johannas Design Group, and Christopher Edsall were hired as architects. First Capital Bank is financing the project.
As for Marburg House, it is in the midst of a gentle restoration.
Lipps, a doctor of pharmacy at the Veterans Affairs Hospital, deliberately uses the word “restored” rather than renovated or remodeled because he aims to keep as much of the home’s original character intact as possible.
“When you walk in, it feels old. It feels grand. That’s hard to find,” Lipps said. “I definitely want to keep the old feel, and I’m probably the only person in the world that wants that anymore–everyone wants sparkling new.”
Lipps said he had been looking at Marburg House for some time, but the initial 2012 asking price of $1.2 million was too high.
The house hadn’t been well maintained and the boxwoods that line the front walkway were massively overgrown. Lipps said it was “filthy,” but structurally sound.
He said he hasn’t set a budget for the project, but estimated that he’ll probably spend $80,000 just to restore the home’s exterior. His contract with the developer stipulates that he will restore the landscaping and exterior within a year.
He credits Troy Sponseller, Ira Applegate and Joyner Fine Properties Realtor Betsy Dotterer for their help in the process.
Lipps said Marburg House is the oldest standing residence in the Carillon neighborhood. It was built for Charles and Augusta Euker. Charles Euker, who named the house after his German birthplace, was an officer in the Confederate Army during the Civil War and ran a Richmond saloon and billiards hall, Lipps said.
The house also counts tobacco magnate Tazewell Carrington and Benjamin and Anne Dennis as owners during Marburg’s first 100 years, Lipps said.
This is the third historic house Lipps has restored, and he says he’ll live in this one forever.
“This is it,” he said. “I’m done.”