Thursday, April 06, 2006

Neighborhood Grapevine Helped Point Real Estate

It's not much to look at — a heap of whitewashed lumber and brick crammed between deteriorating vestiges of Victorian homes.

Particle board hides its broken windows. Graffiti marks its doorway. Shreds of flowered paper cling to its walls inside.

But this century-old former grocery and apartment house is about to make a turnaround. It's been rescued by two young architects who discovered it in Staunton's West Beverley Street district, a diamond in the rough that's slowly getting some polish.

In six months, John and Theresa Dorlini say they can convert the vacant upper floors at 935 W. Beverley St. into two apartments. Their architecture and design studio will occupy the first floor.

The Dorlinis found 935 W. Beverley St. through the neighborhood grapevine. Michael Organ, a longtime neighborhood investor and the owner of the Dorlini's rental apartment, helped point them in the right direction.

The Dorlinis closed on 935 W. Beverley St. on a snowy day just before Christmas and a few days after its inspection. The final price was $45,000.

That's a bargain compared to the average house in Staunton, but by their own estimates, they still face between $60,000 and $100,000 in renovation costs, based on their inspection report.

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