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Construction starts on historic Plaza Midwood estate after years in limbo

The Charlotte Observer logo The Charlotte Observer 1/16/2020 By Danielle Chemtob, The Charlotte Observer

Construction is finally underway on the renovation of the historic Van Landingham Estate, the project’s contractor said Wednesday.

Other than a fresh coat of paint, Roby Commercial said in a press release that it is making minimal changes to the exterior due to the building’s designation as a historic landmark.

Another company is restoring the original windows offsite and will reinstall them, the release said. Roby Commercial is saving the hardwood floors and cleaning the finishes, in addition to refurbishing and modernizing the kitchen and restrooms.

The work on the 107-year-old property in Plaza Midwood is expected to be complete this spring.

It’s part of a plan from the estate’s new owners, Stono River Partners and Ascent Real Estate Capital. The firms purchased the site in March for $1.5 million, and won approval from city council last year to restore it and add two buildings on the site.

Built in 1913 for the prominent VanLandingham family, known for its business and philanthropic ties, the estate last operated as an inn and event venue. But its previous owner, Billy Maddalon, struggled to afford maintenance costs, he previously told the Observer.

The building’s future has been up in the air for years.

Before selling it, Maddalon tried twice to save the property. His first rezoning plan, which would have included a community pool and townhouses, was rejected by the city council in 2015. A second plan was approved for just townhouses in 2018, but Maddalon has told the Observer he lost too much money in the interim.

The new owners plan to operate it as a wedding and corporate events venue, the release said. Jon Dixon, managing partner with Ascent, said they hope to break ground on the two new buildings by the end of the year.

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