On the auction block

Published 9:47 am Friday, June 24, 2011

The Pace House will go up for auction Friday, July 15 at 10:30 a.m. at the Southampton County Courthouse in Courtland. -- Dale Liesch | Tidewater News

FRANKLIN—A foreclosed-on Franklin landmark will go up for auction on Friday, July 15.

Bids will be taken at 10:30 a.m. at the Southampton County Courthouse in Courtland for The Pace House Inn, a Second Avenue bed and breakfast that closed in 2010.

“I know the owner did everything he could to save that place,” said Norfolk attorney John Lumpkin, who is involved with the sale. “When the mill shut down, the B&B business just died.”

Owner Dan Hunt, who opened the bed and breakfast in 2004, said International Paper probably made up about 97 percent of his business.

“I hated to leave it,” Hunt said. “It was a business decision.”

Turning the one-time library and school board office into a bed and breakfast was a labor of love for Hunt. The building was restored to its original floor plan based on photographs. Six bathrooms and central heating and air-conditioning were added.

“It’s a lovely old home,” he said.

The Pace House was the site for wedding receptions, charity galas and other events.

“It was an incredible journey,” Hunt said. “It was a special occasion any time we opened the doors for an occasion.”

The principal amount of the deed of trust when it was issued in 2006 was $360,000, according to court records. Some of that had been paid down, Lumpkin said.

A 10 percent bidder’s deposit will be required in cash, certified or cashier’s check. The property is being sold as is.

“It’s a very nice piece of property, and we hope to find a buyer who will take care of it,” Lumpkin said.

The house was built in the early 1900s for the family of W.T. Pace, the owner of a downtown hardware store, said local history buff Clyde Parker. The city purchased it, and the building was the library for years before being turned into the school board office.

Hunt said the property, due to its size and maintenance needs, would take a very special owner.

“I think it would be incredible for it to become a bed and breakfast again,” he said.