Mitchell House

THOMASVILLE — Renovation plans at the Mitchell House are far from standing still.

“I’m signing a $6.5 million construction contract (today),” Kirby Glaze, president of Community Development Partners Inc., said in response to questions about the future of the development.

Glaze’s company originally planned a three-year development schedule.

“The only thing that has caused a little bit of delay, and I hate to call it delay,” he said, “is the reception in the market. It has been greater than expectations.”

He explained that because every unit in the development has been reserved, “we have collapsed our construction schedule” with the contractor and lenders.

While change may not be easily visible from the exterior, Glaze said work is progressing on the project now expected to be completed by February 2008. A hazardous materials assessment has recently been completed and removal of asbestos will begin next week, before the general contractor begins construction in earnest. Asbestos removal will not affect any of the retail stores in the former Neel’s Department Store building.

Six two-bedroom units facing Jackson Street will feature two-story lofts and modern designs; the other 24 condominiums will feature traditional architectural details, in keeping with downtown Thomasville’s historic setting. Two of those units are one-bedroom; all others are two. Condos range from almost $200,000 to $450,000 and all are under reservation agreement.

Contracts cannot be signed yet, Glaze explained, because the condominium association must be incorporated first. Once details of that association are properly filed — in about four to six weeks — condo-owner contracts can begin to be signed. As development continues, Community Development Partners will open a design center on the Jackson Street side of the building. It, too, should be ready in four to six weeks.

Owners will be able to visit the design center and have input into interior details of their units — including cabinet and countertop selections, among other aspects.

Glaze estimated that about 70 percent of those who have reservation agreements are local residents. He said he knew of one couple from Florida and one from North Carolina who plan to buy into the development.

Progress may have been slow to this point. Glaze acknowledged working on the project for more than two years.

“We do things a little differently than most developers when we are working with communities,” Glaze said. “We don’t do projects that the community is not already invested in. Every project we do — the community contacts us.”

Glaze and his partners have all worked from a consulting standpoint and put a great deal of effort into redevelopments that work within a community’s concept. “One of the things that attracted us was the commitment (of the community) to downtown.”

The market for such condominium development in downtown Thomasville is not saturated. Glaze hopes that the success of this project will lead to other, similar projects.

“The Mitchell House is Thomasville’s first downtown mixed-use residential and retail development,” Karen Smith, executive director of Main Street, said. “The Mitchell House will redevelop the last major underutilized block in our downtown’s successful Main Street revitalization program and add a 24-hour residential mix in downtown to complement our successful retail base.”

Thomasville’s Downtown Development Authority deeded the building to Community Development Partners in May of 2006. The developers also purchased part of the structure from Diane Parker at that time. In exchange, the DDA, City of Thomasville and Historic Preservation Commission had to sign off of construction and landscaping plans. All three entities have approved plans.

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