11/22/07 — Goldsboro will unveil John Street project

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Goldsboro will unveil John Street project

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on November 22, 2007 8:11 AM

Three families might soon be able to move into new homes on John Street -- as part of the city's downtown development project.

The Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. joined with Preservation North Carolina, the city of Goldsboro and Self-Help to bring affordable housing -- and new families -- to Goldsboro.

City officials will break ground at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 29 on the first of three homes at 400, 404 and 406 S. John St., which will be priced from $92,000 to $104,000.

DGDC Director Julie Thompson said she is excited to get the hammers moving.

Self-Help has picked a contractor, and although the organization has not yet signed a contract with the company, officials expect to do so soon.

Construction will begin on the homes in about a month, and Mrs. Thompson expects them to be finished within six months.

The three homes will be designed to look like historic houses in the area that were built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They also will be built with the same materials to give the neighborhood a uniform look.

Each home will have a covered front porch and at least three bedrooms and two bathrooms, said Dan Levine of Self-Help. They will range from 1,096 to 1,258 square feet, perfect for a small family, Mrs. Thompson said.

"They are an efficient use of space," Levine said.

The scale of construction takes cues from the surrounding homes on the block.

"If there are two houses that are 6,400 square feet beside each other, we wouldn't put one of these houses in between," Mrs. Thompson said. "We are very cognizant of making everything fit."

The project is part of the Comprehensive Historic Neighborhood Revitalization Plan, which addresses the need to create single-family, owner-occupied homes in a neighborhood of "blight, distress and decline." The idea is to make the area a more attractive and safer place to live.

"When we started the historic neighborhood revitalization plan, we did a very thorough examination of neighborhoods we wanted to target -- 30 percent of the neighborhoods were comprised of vacant lots," Mrs. Thompson said.

And the 400 block of South John Street was one of those neighborhoods.

So, the city of Goldsboro, PNC and the DGDC set out to find a partner to help them make this and other targeted neighborhoods into "successful, viable single-family neighborhoods."

Self-Help, whose mission is to increase the "wealth-building capacity of underserved people," stepped up.

"They saw the value of the historical area," Mrs. Thompson said.

The organizations came together to plan to construct "affordable houses that could meet the needs of families in the area."

These homes are geared toward "people that want to live in a historical neighborhood that might not be able to afford buying a large historical house and fixing it up," Mrs. Thompson said.

She also wants to encourage first-time homebuyers.

"The homes are perfect for families that want to live in a traditional neighborhood that have never bought a home before," she added.

Mrs. Thompson said three potential buyers have already contacted her and are very interested in purchasing the homes.

Additional construction plans for other neighborhoods will be made after city officials can evaluate the John Street project, Mrs. Thompson said.

"If we can pre-sell these homes before they are even finished, that would be great, and we will move on to the next neighborhood," she said.

The public is welcome to attend the groundbreaking which will take place on the corner of Pine and John streets at 400 S. John St. Afterward at 5 p.m., Self-Help will make a presentation about homebuyer eligibility and qualifications in the conference room of the new City Hall. Those interested in learning more about the program and becoming first-time homebuyers are welcome to attend.