By Kevin Hogencamp
Real estate prospector Peter Studl garnered a lot of attention a few years ago with his high-profile, highly unsuccessful foray into the downtown renovation market. He moved into town and purchased a large chunk of downtown, only to sell it at a loss recently to developer Bob Brooks.
As it turns out, Studl and his wife, Ashley, made quite a lasting impression in their neighborhood, too.
On Monday night, about 25 Woodland Subdivision residents attended a brainstorming session with a real estate investor about the future of Studls’ former home – which in shambles due to neglect, deterioration and unfinished renovation projects.
Peter Studl bought the former Walden home at 1201 Pinecrest Drive, located on a sprawling 5.6-acre tract at Glennview Drive adjacent to the Haley limesink just north of Dawson Road, in 2002 for $340,000.
About two weeks, days after the home was listed by Albany Realty Co. for $199,900, investor George Bancroft entered into a 15-day option to buy the property for $185,000. Bancroft says that after studying the market, obtaining engineering consultation, and reviewing development options, he will forfeit his option on the property when his option expires on Friday, but that he may try to negotiate a better deal while he continue to study the deal.
Albany real estate broker Larry Walden, who once lived in the home, says he understands and agrees with Bancroft’s conclusion.
“It’s in terrible shape and all of the expensive parts of the home is what has to be redone,” Walden said. “I appreciate (Bancroft) coming in and telling the neighborhood what can happen with the property … It’s just that none of the options make sense.”
Bancroft discussed options ranging from razing the house and building a new one to subdividing the lot into as many as 16 homes, which would require rezoning. Under accepted uses for the property under current zoning, the land could be subdivided into four or five large 1-acre-plus lots, or the home could be used for personal care or day care.
Realistically, due to the condition of the home, there’s probably not an opportunity for an investor to profit from the property, Walden and Bancroft said. Indeed, purchasing the property and bringing the home to its former condition likely would cost nearly $600,000 Bancroft said.
“That lot is so unique. I think that with what people are willing to spend here, the neighborhood could support a home in the $500,000 range at that location,” said attorney Faison Middleton, who lives nearby.
The meeting’s attendees agreed that the home’s awful state, not the real estate market, is the reason for the dilemma, which residents say is adversely impacting the neighborhood. Subdividing the property into more than five lots would deteriorate the subdivision’s property values, many of the neighbors said Monday.
“I’m more than willing to keep it tied up as long as possible, but at some point, something either needs to happen or I’ll walk away,” said Bancroft, whose mother-in-law lives across from the home. “I really don’t care as much about the home as I do preserving the property and its woodland.”
The 3,664-square-foot home was built in 1950. Albany Realty’s listing says: “Stately Southern home in need of repair. Bring your contractor and your love of classic architecture to contemplate a renovation project that could result in the home of your dreams.”
In 2009, Ashley Studl became the home’s owner. She is now working in Destin, Fla., as a real estate agent. Peter Studl lives with his mother in Albany.
The Studl home at 1201 Pinecrest Ave. sold in 2002 for $340,000 and is now listed at $199,900
The view from the rear of the Studl home shows severe deterioration and renovation projects that were abruptly halted.