Pace House still on market

Published 10:11 am Saturday, February 25, 2012

Anne Williams hopes her great-grandfather's house, a century-old landmark in Franklin, soon has new tenants. -- Dale Liesch | Tidewater News

FRANKLIN—A woman with family ties to a Franklin landmark hopes the property can be sold.

Anne Williams, great-granddaughter of W.T. Pace, the man for whom the Pace House was built in the early 1900s, said she is not in the market for the 8,400-square-foot structure, but she doesn’t want it vacant for too long.

“I don’t need a big house,” Williams said. “It’s just me and my husband and we’d be rolling around in there constantly looking for each other.”

The grand home, located at 800 W. Second Ave. near downtown, most recently housed a bed-and-breakfast.

Williams would like to see the property either turned back into a residence or made into a bed and breakfast again.

“I don’t want it to sit empty and fall apart,” Williams said. “That would be a nightmare to let it fall apart.”

Most recently, the property was owned by restaurateur Dan Hunt, who said business was hurt by the closing of International Paper Co.’s Franklin mill in 2010.

The property was foreclosed on last year and picked up at auction in July by Community Bank, which held the mortgage on the property. The bank has been looking to sell the property.

Dan Lawson, an agent with Shaffer Realty, said he has fielded five calls asking about the property listed at $299,000 and has seen serious interest from at least two parties in the month he’s had it on the market.

“It’s a very unique property,” Lawson said. “I would love to see someone get it and turn it into a private residence. It would make a beautiful house.”

Of the two most interested parties, at least one is from the Franklin area, Lawson said.

Lawson said he is also marketing the home and its 1.3 acres as a potential bed-and-breakfast.

Williams believes the property could be successful as a bed-and-breakfast again because of an economic resurgence in the area, including the repurposing of the IP mill and announcements of other industrial facilities.

“Franklin needs a place like that again to host events,” Williams said.

The house was originally built for Pace, who owned W.T. Pace Hardware downtown, and his family, which consisted of seven children, including Williams’ grandmother Louise Pace. Williams said at one time the family had a trapeze in the attic of the house.

She could see the home being used again as a large family residence.

“It’s just such a unique property and quite large,” Lawson said. “It’ll take a unique buyer.”