Approximately five weeks ago, I noticed the windows of the Historic Nelson House, owned by the Holtzman Corporation, were removed. Since then, Mr. Holtzman has been gracious enough to give me until the end of the year to find a way to move the house.
During this time, I have personally solicited bids from house movers, met with the utility companies, found a lot within the historic District, and gained preliminary approval from the NPS through the State Historic Preservation Office that they will consider the house “contributing to the historic district” once moved. This means that any restorations to the house, after it’s moved, will be eligible for Historic Tax Credits.
I have basically done all the work needed for the move, but also determined how to make the Nelson House, a financially contributing Asset to Mount Jackson, with a proposal to redevelop King Street into a $1.5M Mixed-Use Cultural Commercial project that focuses on providing opportunities to local artisans, crafters and small businesses. The project will help maintain the heritage of MJ by preserving the house, and developing what has historically been a commercial street, but is currently an underdeveloped street. The project will boost the local economy, provide jobs, education and opportunities to the local community; and strengthen the community as a whole.
Where others have failed to determine the financial viability of moving the house, I have effectively succeeded. With over $400k in Historic Tax Credits available to the project, the move itself becomes “Free”.
Though a bit complex, the relocation of the Nelson House is paramount to developing King Street into a destination mixed-use corridor and revitalizing Downtown. I value private property rights, and respect the Holtzman Corporation’s needs for new office space, but what a shame it will be to lose not only the historic house, but also the economic benefit and potential the House can have to Mount Jackson's downtown. (Many have asked why we didn't pursue this five years ago - truthfully, I had submitted a bid to move the house in 2006, but was told the house was promised to a company in Pennsylvania, and never heard otherwise.)
As such, I have requested that Mr. Holtzman provide either a bridge loan of $100k, or a gift to the Economic Development of the Town, to move the house to a temporary location, which I already possess. This would effectively get the house to safe ground; out of the Holtzman Corporation's way; and preserve not only the architecture, but the economic potential for Mount Jackson.
MJ would be able to boast a $2M new office building AND a $1.5M downtown redevelopment project.
We have received quite a bit of press, in both the Northern Virginia Daily and the Daily News Record. And, there are a number of State and Regional preservation and economic development agencies, including the Artisans Center of Virginia, following the project.
Mount Jackson's historic resources seem to be dwindling each year, and we are not only offering to preserve some of them, but to do it in a way that will have a positive long term impact on the economic development of Mount Jackson.
The Holtzman Corporation started with a $50k loan from an Uncle in or around 1964. That loan, in today's dollars, would equal $376k. Perhaps the Holtzman Corporation can "pay it forward" with a $100k loan, or even a gift to the "Economic Development of Mount Jackson," to move the house and kick off a great redevelopment project for Mount Jackson.
By working together, our small towns can become what they once were and even better.