Walraven and Moore negotiated the acquisition of The Columns, 206 E. Fourth Ave., after an auction last week.
“It doesn’t close until Feb. 11,” Walraven said. “I know it’s not going to be economic; we’re going to lose money on this. We’re mainly just doing it to help the neighborhood.”
Walraven, a banking executive, and Moore, an insurance industry executive, plan to gradually convert the building back into a single-family structure.
Walraven said that it would probably take a number of years to complete the renovation and restoration of the home, which he said was likely built in 1909 for Rome Mayor T. W. Lipscomb.
“It’s going to be a very expensive and time consuming project given the fact that the house is divided into 11 single room apartments,” Walraven said. “Almost all of the original detail has been stripped out of the house.”
Walraven said the boiler system hasn’t worked in the house in more than two years, so it’s going to require a new heating and air conditioning system.
Luke Chaffin, president of the Between the Rivers Association, was ecstatic about the deal.
“The association is excited because the home will be turned into what it once was and will better blend in with the rest of the community instead of being something more like an eyesore on one of our corners,” Chaffin said.
Chaffin said that, after talking personally with Walraven, the immediate plan would be to clean up the exterior of the building and landscape of the property.
Walraven and Moore currently live at 312 E. Fourth Ave., a block away in another historic home that is thought to have been built circa 1911.
“We have no intentions of moving,” Walraven said. “This is just basically a great old historic house with the potential to be one of the prettier houses in downtown Rome. We were worried that somebody would buy it and leave it like it is now, which affects everybody in the neighborhood.”
Walraven said that he and Moore expect to put the house on the market after they make the repairs in a bid to restore some of the original glory to the home. It’s been the residence of a number of the city’s leading citizens through the decades, including Lipscomb, Isaac May, Joel Sulzbacher and Dr. Herman Gray.
Walraven did not disclose the purchase price but did say that he and Moore tried to buy the property from owner Wes Manis in advance of the auction.
“He did the right thing and the auction worked out well in terms of getting a better price out of the house,” Walraven said. “It helped us see that there were buyers at a price not terribly below where we paid.”
Floyd County tax records indicate The Columns is currently valued at $234,080.