Editor’s note: Rebecca Hood wrote this statement in response to questions from Flagpole regarding the purchase of her East Broad Street home by student housing developer Landmark Properties and subsequent efforts to move the home to the Orange Twin community, covered here.
We recently sold our property with an agreement to move the historic 100-year-old Potterytown house that was our former home onto another site.
From the very beginning of being approached by Landmark, it was absolutely necessary for us to obtain the ability to move the house to even consider selling our property (which had, at the very least, been zoned commercial since before I bought it in 1999).
Laura Carter, as well as other Orange Twin shareholders, and I have been diligently working on this intensive process, and we just finished crossing off all the requirements one by one. We hope to start the house’s prep for the move very soon and have the house completely moved shortly after the 1st of the year out to Orange Twin Conservation Community.
Patterson and I are absolutely thrilled and relieved for our very special home to be safe from eventual demolition on its present commercially zoned site (with developers needing the land for “highest and best use” high-density development) and have a shot at another 100-plus years of life! We couldn’t be more excited for our home, which has been filled with music during our tenure, to find a new site and owners in which music will again be so present in the Orange Twin Conservation Community! Besides it being such a beautiful spot out there, we love what they stand for and are so proud for our home to end up there surrounded again by music! What more could we have asked for in terms of a location and new stewards for our beloved home?
My goal from the very beginning of buying this historic home back in 1999 was to save it from further deterioration and eventual or possible demolition. That goal has never changed. The neighborhood, however, has changed drastically.The time has come that the best interest of the home is for it to be relocated and loved by a community of people that will further appreciate what it has for so long offered.
At this point, we really need a Christmas miracle for the weather to be on our side so that we can make our deadline. Of course, it has always been our hope that if there was an issue beyond our control (i.e. the weather) that prevented Laura Carter and Orange Twin from fully meeting this deadline that Landmark would be willing to work with them and allow more time. It is my understanding that there are no immediate plans for building on our former property, so what would a few extra days, two weeks or even another 30 days hurt?
You asked why we sold our property to Landmark. Simply put, because it was an opportunity that helped our family, and we were told that they didn’t want the house and that it would be no problem to have the house moved off of the property. Since our land had been zoned commercial at least since I bought it in 1999, I knew it would one day be desired by developers.
As the house has been lovingly restored with my blood, sweat and tears, for years it was completely out of the question for me to ever agree to sell to anyone if it meant that the house would be at risk. From the very beginning of negotiations I was clear that the house must be moved or we simply wouldn’t sell. Also, we didn’t want to live in the Up house (Disney movie loosely based on a house in Seattle where an elderly woman refused to sell, and so developers literally built a huge development around her home).
We watched as our section of town, known as Potterytown, went to high-density mixed-use development, and we already lived through so much construction over the 16 years since I first bought the house. The Mark is the fifth large project in our immediate area. (I’m including the regrading of East Broad Street. They literally started blasting on the day we brought our now 10-year-old daughter home from the hospital.)
When we were approached by developers earlier this year, we weren’t looking to sell our home and yard that we love. However, we had already been making a plan to rent out our house and go to Portland for at least the summer and possibly the next school year, in part to escape the everyday major construction behind our property. We decided that this was the time to get our family out of the neighborhood that was literally growing up around us, as it came to the point that we were doing our children a disservice by staying, as they have lived their entire lives to that point in that location and had been constantly surrounded by large commercial construction projects.
We also thought this would be a good opportunity for Patterson to participate in a writer’s program here and to immerse himself in the large writing community in Portland with all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. We especially didn’t want to stay during another big project for the building of The Mark, which was well underway when we left Athens in June.
You also asked if we were staying in Portland, and honestly, we don’t know what the future will hold for our family. One thing we are certain of is that Athens has our heart, and our ties to Athens will always remain strong as Patterson’s band, The Drive-By Truckers will continue to be based out of Athens.
I hope this answers your questions. We are still working diligently to have the house saved and moved to Orange Twin. We still have and will continue to have deep ties, financially, emotionally and personally with Athens and our many loved ones there.
This is possibly something that we can further talk to you more about in the new year, after the house has been moved to safety from future development, and it can then have the opportunity for another 100-plus years of life!
For more information on the beauty that is Orange Twin Conservation Community, please go to www.orangetwin.com.
(Patterson sends his greetings and regards from the road where he is currently touring.)
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