Homeowners and absentee landlords: Here’s how property ownership in College Hill stands today

College Hill mapThe January neighborhood association meeting on Monday will include a discussion of how to better engage College Hill’s many landlords in maintaining and improving the neighborhood. It’s a challenge that has been addressed with little success and varying degrees of enthusiasm and frustration since the association was established more than 40 years ago. But it’s an issue as relevant today as ever. Property ownership in College Hill is still tilted toward rentals and threatens to become even more imbalanced as the neighborhood’s home prices soar beyond the reach of most families but not of many “real estate investors.”

Absentee landlords have made up a large share of College Hill’s property owners since the Depression. Today, the mix is about 53 percent rental properties and 45 percent owner-occupied homes (the other 2 percent are vacant1Oddly, a total of 15 properties, almost 4 percent of the neighborhood’s residential properties, have achieved the ultimate in absentee ownership and are now owned by landlords who have died. The nine houses owned by James Dutton have been listed for sale by his estate. Nothing appears to be happening yet with the six owned by Jeff Towne.).

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Airbnb now shows 8 short-term rental listings in College Hill, including 3 entire houses and a house with 3 apartments

gray 1 1/2 story bungalow

1001 W. McGee Street, now a whole-house short-term rental

Dutch colonial

1010 W. McGee Street, also a whole-house short-term rental

Airbnb has listed short-term rentals in College Hill since at least 2014, but there may be more of them now than ever. This week, 919 Carr Street hosted its first Airbnb guests, bringing the total number of short-term rental units in the neighborhood to at least eight.1It’s possible there are other Airbnbs in College Hill. The website doesn’t provide specific addresses until reservations are made. It also show users only the rentals that are available on the dates specified for reservations. I checked dates in several months and found only these listings in College Hill. I didn’t find anyplace in the neighborhood listed with the other major short-term rental site, VRBO.com.

The online rental platform has become so popular, and, presumably, profitable, that two recently sold historic homes were bought specifically to become whole-house Airbnb rentals, 1001 W. McGee Street (“Stunning 4 bd/2 bth filled with every lux comfort!”) and 1010 W. McGee Street (“Grandeur and Beauty College Hill”). Both had been owner-occupied, single-family homes. 1001 W. McGee sold for $430,000 in December 2021; 1010 W. McGee sold for 375,000 in July 2021.

919 Carr Street, the most recent Airbnb listing in College Hill

919 Carr (“Cozy on Carr”), also a whole-house rental, had been a conventional rental property before being listed on Airbnb.

A large home on South Mendenhall Street offers three apartments (“1906 Rustic Comfort,” “1906 Classic Retreat” and “1906 Victorian Refuge“). The owners have a special-use permit to allow the three short-term rentals, which can accommodate a total of 12 guests. The owners themselves live in the house as well.

Other Airbnb rentals in College Hill include part of an owner-occupied, single-family home on Rankin Place (“Spacious Upstairs Suite”) and an apartment in a commercial building on Spring Garden Street (“The Fishbowl”).

At least three previous College Hill listings appear to have been taken off the site — a room in a house on Tate Street, an apartment on Tate and a small guest house on Walker Avenue.

Accommodations for visitors are nothing new in College Hill. In the relatively recent past, there have been two B&B’s in the neighborhood, the Troy-Bumpas Inn on South Mendenhall Street (1992-2016) and the College Hill Bed and Breakfast (1987-90) on Carr Street, but neither of the current owners offer Airbnb rentals.2From around 1949 to 1967, a tourist home eventually called the Manor Motel stood on West Market Street at Tate Street, now the site of the Greensboro College’ Reynolds Center (one section of the motel still sits behind the main building). In the 1960s, across Market Street in the 1000 block were a tourist home where the State Employees Credit Union now stands, the Shady Grove Motel in the Queen Anne house at 1020 West Market, and the Town House Motor Lodge at Market and South Mendenhall, built around 1962 and now called The Inn at Greensboro.

Numbers of Airbnb units vary in other older Greensboro neighborhoods and historic districts. There are more than a dozen listings in Fisher Park and at least four in Dunleath. Lindley Park has eight, and the Brice Street neighborhood, between Lindley Park and UNCG, has at least 11. Glenwood has at least seven. There are about six in Westerwood and only a couple in Sunset Hills, where property values are far higher and rentals of any sort far fewer.

Posted in Carr Street, McGee Street, Mendenhall Street, Rankin Place, Spring Garden Street, Tate Street, Walker Avenue | Tagged | 1 Comment

College Hill historic-home prices continued to soar in 2022

The elegant 915 Spring Garden Street sold for $595,000 in November 2022

2022 was a relatively quiet year for real estate in College Hill. Few historic homes went up for sale, continuing the trend of recent years. I counted 12 sales during the year; just three involved owner-occupied homes. Five houses (including a Sears kit house) and four condos were sold as rental properties, mostly to local or in-state buyers.

The sales of 915 Spring Garden Street and 303 S. Mendenhall Street continued the sharp increase in prices of restored owner-occupied houses in the historic district. 915 Spring Garden sold for $595,000; 303 S. Mendenhall, for $645,000. Those prices would have been unimaginable just a couple years ago. Even so, College Hill’s historic homes continue to be relative bargains. On a square-foot basis, those houses sold for $174 and $172, respectively. Well restored historic homes in Fisher Park, Irving Park and Sunset Hills sold consistently for more than $250 per square foot.

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Posted in Joyner Street, Market Street, McGee Street, Mendenhall Street, Spring Garden Street, Springdale Court, Tate Street, Wafco Mills | Leave a comment

Food drive for Spartan Open Pantry this Saturday at PCOC

flyer for PCOC food drive for Spartan Open Pantry

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Holiday wreaths go up on College Hill lampposts

holiday wreath on lamppost

wreaths being made at PCOC

Wreath-maker Rosemarie DiGiorgio at work

Neighborhood volunteers have created holiday wreaths and put them up on lampposts up and down South Mendenhall Street. The wreaths were made possible in part by a generous donation of tree trimmings from the Delancy Street Holiday Tree lot.

Lyddan Pawlowski made the bows, Clara Kelly gathered holly, and Miriam and Tom Herin donated the magnolia leaves. The wreaths were created by Rosemarie DiGiorgio, Clara Kelly, Patti Pogodzinski and Samantha Smith. Josh Stewart and Dan Smith helped hang the wreaths.

The Delancey Street tree lot is at 2108 N. Church Street. “If you haven’t yet purchased your Christmas tree, this is the place to do it,” Samantha Smith, CHNA president, says. “They are so kind and helpful there, the trees are fresh, and the money goes to the very important cause of helping those struggling with addiction, homelessness, and other dire needs.

“Please get your tree from Delancey Street Tree Lot if you can so we can thank them for their generosity. They filled the entire back of my Subaru with fresh tree cuttings!”

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For newcomers and those who’ve forgotten: All College Hill residents are eligible for credit-union membership

All College Hill residents are eligible for membership in the Greensboro Municipal Federal Credit Union. This eligibility is extended to members of all neighborhood associations that belong to the Greensboro Neighborhood Congress. All College Hill residents are members of the College Hill Neighborhood Association, which is a member of the GNC.

The credit union has offices at 217 N. Greene Street, 2200 Soabar Street and 2511 Phillips Avenue. Members also can use the offices of the Co-Op Shared Branching network, including 23 in the Greensboro area and 5,000 nationwide.

ATMs are at the Soabar and Philips offices, the Depot and the Greensboro Farmer’s Market. Members also can use more than 30 surcharge-free CashPoints ATMs in Greensboro and hundreds more across the state.  CashPoints locations in Greensboro include the State Employees Credit Union office at Tate and Market streets, the Elliott Center at UNCG and Municipal Plaza on South Greene Street downtown.

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New page added to website: Community health resources

Figuring out even the most basic aspects of our health-care system is getting more and more complex. With health issues dominating the news like never before, a new page has been added to the website listing community health resources. It’s found under the GSO Guide tab on the navigation bar.

The guide isn’t comprehensive, but it’s a start. Please provide any suggestions you have for additional listings. Here are the initial listings on the page.

  • 12-Step groups

Alcoholics Anonymous
Daily and biweekly groups meet at the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, 501 S. Mendenhall Street, and at St. Mary’s House, 930 Walker Avenue.

NA meetings
Two weekly groups meet at St. Mary’s House, 930 Walker Avenue.

  • COVID-19

Vaccines, testing and other information
Guilford County Health Department
City of Greensboro

  • Drug addiction (harm reduction)

Guilford County Solution to the Opioid Problem
Syringe access, peer-based

NC Survivors Union
Syringe access, peer-based

  • Family services

Family Services of the Piedmont
Helps families address domestic violence, child abuse, mental health and financial stability.

Triad Adult and Pediatric Medicine
Provides primary care and preventive care, including health and mental health/substance abuse services to persons of all ages, regardless of their ability to pay or health insurance status. (Formerly Guilford Child Health Inc. and HealthServe Community Health Clinic)

Women’s Emotional Wellness and Support Group
At the Women’s Resource Center: “A safe & confidential peer-led environment for sharing and support. Topics include coping strategies, self-care, empowerment & tools to help manage life’s daily challenges.”

  • Guilford County Public Health Department

Guilford County Public Health Department
Preventing disease and promoting health, the first public health department in North Carolina and the second in the nation.

  • Hospice

Formerly Hospice of Greensboro and Hospice of Alamance-Caswell.

  • Mental health

The Kellin Foundation
Community-based organization providing free mental health and substance use treatment services. (Mental Health Greensboro merged with the Kellin Foundation in 2021.)

UNCG Psychology Clinic
Comprehensive psychological evaluations and individual and group therapy for children, families, and adults. Providers are graduate students under the supervision of licensed psychologists and health service providers.

  • Sexual health

Carolina Abortion Fund
Abortion resource referrals and financial assistance

Planned Parenthood Greensboro Health Center
“Care no matter what”

STD Testing in Greensboro
“You have options for getting STD tests. Learn about convenient local testing for common STDs.”

Triad Health Project
“Triad Health Project promotes sexual health and justice through radical care, love, and equity while working to free our community from HIV, its stigma, and root causes.”

  • Speech and hearing

UNCG Speech and Hearing Center
Offers professional services for evaluation and treatment of speech, language and hearing disorders to individuals across the lifespan. Open to the public.

  • Veterinary

Humane Society of the Piedmont
Provides affordable medical care for animals, including low-cost spay/neuter, vaccines and wellness services.

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Early voting is now under way for the July 26 city elections; please note: we’re in a different City Council district now

Thurston Reeder and Nancy Hoffman, City Council candidates, District 4

In case City Council member Nancy Hoffman hasn’t come by your house to inform you personally, you need to know that College Hill has been moved very quietly to City Council District 4. City elections will be held on July 26, so the district candidates we have to choose between are incumbent member Hoffman and Thurston H. Reeder Jr.

Hoffman has been knocking on doors to let College Hill voters know we’re now in her district, since the city itself hasn’t made any effort to tell us.

Mayor’s race

Also on the ballot are candidates for mayor and City Council at-large seats. The mayor’s race has come down to incumbent Nancy Vaughan and Justin Outling, our previous City Council district representative.

City Council at large

There are six candidates running for three at-large seats: Marikay Abuzuaiter, Tracy Furman, Hugh Holston, Yvonne J. Johnson, Katie Rossabi and Linda Wilson. The incumbents are Abuzuaiter, Holston and Johnson (mayor pro tem).

Bond proposals

There are five significant city bond referenda on the ballot, to provide funding for fire department facilities, housing (including $20 million for affordable rental units), parks and recreation facilities, police facilities and transportation projects.

Click here for more information.

Polling place

Our polling place is the Reynolds Center, also known as the old YMCA, on Market Street at Tate Street. Our precinct is G44.

Early voting

Early voting begins today, July 7. The closest early-voting location for us is the Old Guilford County Courthouse, 301 W. Market Street. Hours:

Thursday, July 7 – Friday, July 8: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday, July 11 – Friday, July 15: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday, July 18 – Friday, July 22: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, July 23: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

College Hill district information

Here’s where we belong regarding districts for various offices in branches and levels of government, with current office-holders listed:

  • Precinct: G44
  • U.S. Congress: North Carolina District 6, Kathy Manning
  • N.C. Senate: District 28, Gladys Robinson
  • N.C. House: District 61, Pricey Harrison
  • Superior Court: District 18D, Robert Albright, Susan Bray, John Craig (senior resident judge), Lora Cubbage, William Wood
  • District Court: District 18, Larry Archie, Angela Bullard, Tonia Cutchin, William Davis, Kimberly Fletcher, Angela Foster, Tabatha Holliday, Marcus Shields, Kelvin Smith, Brian Tomlin, Caroline Tomlinson Pemberton, Marc Tyrey, Teresa Vincent (chief judge), Ashley Watlington Sims
  • District Attorney: District 24, Avery Crump
  • County Board of Commissioners: District 5, Carly Cooke
  • City Council: District 4, Nancy Hoffman
  • School Board: District 5, Deborah Napper
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Season tickets on sale for the UNCG Concert & Lecture Series featuring the Indigo Girls, Winston Duke, Joshua Bell and more

list of perfprmers and dates for UCLS '22-'23

Right here in our own neighborhood:

Season subscriptions are now on sale for the 2022-2023 UNCG Concert and Lecture Series.  Season subscription prices are 10 percent less than individually purchased tickets. Single-event tickets go on sale 90 days before each event.

The line-up for the series’s 110th season:

  • Winston Duke, one of the stars of the blockbuster Marvel Studios movie Black Panther;
  • Joshua Bell, one of the most celebrated violinists of our time, in recital;
  • Shaun Leonardo, multidisciplinary artist whose work negotiates societal expectations of manhood;
  • Urban Bush Women, a dance company whose works weave contemporary dance, music, and text with history, culture, and spiritual traditions of the African Diaspora;
  • Indigo Girls, the renowned folk-rock duo in concert with The Greensboro Symphony Orchestra; and
  • Seraph Brass, a dynamic ensemble of America’s top female brass players.

Ticket prices for individual events:

  • Adult: $52.35 / $34.35
  • Senior: $45.80 / $29.45
  • Faculty/Staff: $45.80 / $29.45
  • Non-UNCG Student: $8.18
  • UNCG Student: $4.10

Worth noting: If you’re not a classical-music fan, you may remember Joshua Bell from this now legendary experiment outside a DC Metro station and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post article that resulted.

Posted in Events, UNCG College of Visual and Performing Arts | Tagged | Leave a comment

In memoriam: Jeff Towne, 92, longtime College Hill resident

Jeff Towne, longtime College Hill resident and landlord, died Tuesday April 26 in Columbus, Ohio. He was 92.

He split his time between 933 Carr Street and a retirement community in Columbus. He had made multiple trips back and forth this year, always driving and always by himself. Jeff had maintained a residence in Greensboro for more than 60 years, but Guilford County records list his mailing address as the Columbus residence.

He had been in declining health for several years. A neighbor said Jeff was hospitalized in Greensboro last month. His family then had him transported to a hospital in Ohio. A memorial service was held in Columbus last week.

Jeff had no family in Greensboro. He is survived by a sister, Joyce Towne Gross, who lives in the same retirement community in Columbus, and a niece. He had been a close friend of Jim Clark of 935 Carr Street, who died in 2017.

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Posted in Carr Street, Condolences, Morehead Street, Tate Street | 3 Comments