Old Growth Ventures Announces Victor Street Historic Shotgun Row House Rehabilitation Project in Freedmen’s Town
October 21, 2019
Old Growth Ventures LLC announces the Victor Street Historic Shotgun Row House Rehabilitation Project to save and rehab the last iconic shotgun house row in Houston’s Freedmen’s Town National Register Historic District. The Victor Street shotguns were recently acquired by Old Growth Ventures’ Historic Preservation Fund I, L.P. The historic rehab is expected to be completed by June, saving the last remaining iconic shotgun house row in Houston’s original African American community.
The Victor Street Shotgun Row Houses at 1501-1519 Victor Street have sat empty, and for a decade were a symbol and battle ground of the struggles for historic preservation in Houston in a city known for looking forward not back. Listed in the Houston Architectural Guide and built 100 years ago between 1914 and 1922, these shotguns are located only a few hundred yards from Downtown Houston and the heart of Midtown. The Victor shotgun row houses are the last potential blockface of original iconic shotgun row homes in Freedmen’s Town, an area rich with history. Freedmen’s Town was the first African American community in Houston, and shotgun living along with rows of narrow shotgun houses helped define the community through most of its history. Designated in 1985, Freedmen's Town National Register Historic District comprised 568 National Register Listed Historic contributing structures including 1501-1519 Victor Street among many blocks of shotgun houses, 13 historic churches, and 2 miles of historic brick streets. Today barely one tenth of those of any type remain within the district.
“We are excited to rehab such well known and iconic houses in such an important historic community in Houston,” said Neal Dikeman, the Managing Partner of Old Growth Ventures, whose family came to the Houston area in 1857. “If we can restore a full historic block of shotguns we can not only provide context to the district, and show what life in Freedmen’s Town was like 100 years ago, but also enable these amazing houses to serve another 100 years of Houston families. With high ceilings, hipped roofs, pine floors and shiplap walls and highly livable iconic shotgun interiors, they are timeless. Along with the Yates Museum and Gregory Library on Victor Street, the Victor Street Historic Shotgun Rehabilitation Project will anchor an important cultural and historic street across the length Freedmen’s Town.”
Old Growth Ventures (OGV) acquires, saves, and rehabs historic homes to National Park Service Historic Rehabilitation Guidelines under the Texas and Federal Historic Tax Credit Programs. The Victor Street project team includes OGV’s Architect in Residence, David Jefferis, of Grayform Architecture, the leading rehabilitation architect in Houston’s Historic Districts, and General Contractor Millbrook Construction. The work is done in consultation with City of Houston preservation and Texas Historic Commission staff. Tax credit assistance is provided by Commerce Bank (NASDAQ:CBSH), which committed to purchase State Historic Tax Credits from the project.
In 2018 OGV rehabbed the long out of service historic 908 and 908 ½ Sabine St houses in Houston’s Historic Old Sixth Ward Neighborhood to National Park Service, City, and Texas Historic Commission standards, anchoring the north end of the newly restored historic brick Sabine Street. OGV’s Historic Preservation Fund I is currently funding the construction on the rehab of the historic Carter-Milroy-Canfield Houses built in 1922 at 1217 and 1219 Tulane St in Heights West Historic District, and OGV is actively looking for more historic homes to acquire and save.
“We are thankful to the preservation work done before us in Freedmen’s Town, and the families who invest with us and understand you can make money by doing good for the community,” Dikeman said. “The longtime owners of 1501-1519 Victor Street sold to us specifically because of our preservation mandate. It makes little sense from a community, sustainability, or affordability standpoint to tear down communities of 100 year old houses built from high quality materials no longer available, only to replace them with larger, more expensive, less sustainable and less livable townhomes with a shorter rated life. That’s why we launched the Historic Preservation Fund and pioneered using Historic Tax Credits and tax advantaged private capital to save and rehab 1,000 single family houses across Texas.”
*******Old Growth Ventures LLC
Old Growth Ventures LLC is a private equity fund manager and General Partner of the Historic Preservation Fund I, L.P. Historic Preservation Fund I, backed by a number of Texas-based family offices, is the first to specialize in acquiring, rehabbing, and leasing historic single family homes under the Federal and State Historic Tax Credit Programs. Old Growth Ventures expects to rehab 1,000 historic homes over the next decade, and has ongoing and completed projects in Houston’s Historic Heights, Freedmen’s Town, and Old Sixth Ward neighborhoods. Contact: (281) 624 5504, email@example.com
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