07/29/11 — House now officially part of sweepstakes

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House now officially part of sweepstakes

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on July 29, 2011 1:46 PM

The builders of the Molly Smith Thompson House back in 1901 probably couldn't have imagined the 3,804-square-foot Queen Anne home becoming a boarding house.

They likely wouldn't have predicted the affluent neighborhood surrounding it would lose population the way it did, either. But one thing they certainly couldn't have known was that one day the house would be given away free by the city in an Internet sweepstakes.

The city acquired the home at 111 N. Virginia St. in 2007 for $21,000 in hopes of finding a buyer who would meet the protective covenants required to aid in the restoration of Goldsboro's historic district. "This Old House" magazine contacted the city in May to see if it would be interested in donating a home to a sweepstakes, and the City Council voted June 6 to donate the house on Virginia Street.

The winner will be bound to perform specific renovations to the home within a certain time frame and meet certain specifications as provided for in a contract.

As far as giving away the home, which the magazine website claims has an actual retail value of $45,790, Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. Director Julie Thompson said the publicity brought to Goldsboro from the contest would bring more investment into the city's downtown revitalization efforts, citing an earlier example when a Goldsboro home was mentioned in the magazine -- which spawned numerous phone calls and home purchases in the historic district.

"It's a great opportunity for Goldsboro, and particularly for our neighborhood plan efforts, to get this national exposure," she said, adding that even if the sweepstakes winner declined to take on the renovation work, the city would become a destination for those interested in home restoration.

A draft of the covenants states that much of the original features of the house, including its hardwood floors, staircase and front door, must be kept and access must be allowed for public viewing of the restoration.

The "Save This Old House" sweepstakes runs through Aug. 31, and entries can be submitted online at thisoldhousesweeps.com/win.