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The Garcia-Spiers Development company purchased this Park View home at 101 Linden Ave. from Portsmouth's housing authority. Mickey Garcia, left, and Trevor Spiers, right, talk to electrician Ruben Cordell as he works on the Linden Avenue house.
Garcia and Spiers wanted to preserve details such as this clawfoot bathtub. The duo specialize In the restoration of historic structures. When developers were finished, the Victorian had been retumed to a rambling 3,300 square feet of living space.
Along with retaining as much of the original material as possible, the builders added modern comforts, such as all new plumbing and wiring Spiers, left, and Garcia In front of the renovated Unden Avenue home. It was the first of more than a dozen they plan to restore in Park View.
 

A new Park View
City planners, residents say time has come for revitalization

BY JANIE BRYANT
THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT

ORTSMOUTH — People milled about a wrap-around porch on a bright spring day that held nothing to the sunflower yellow of the Painted Lady or Victorian.
  Last summer, this house on Linden Avenue was closer to demolition than display. But on this day in late March, it was show time for a restored beauty.
  A large round window under the stairway poured light into a hallway the length of two parlors and the kitchen. Colorful Gerber daisies popped up from window boxes. Granite counter tops were lined with before-and-after photos of the 1900 gem that had come back to life.
  Celebration was in the air – a feeling that city officials and many property owners hope to see spread throughout

 

this historic urban neighborhood of Park View.
  Wayne and Jennifer Hazelwood looked through the rooms proudly and talked to the developers about closing on the house the next day. Three days after the open house, they would move in.
  For the developers, Mickey Garcia and Trevor Spiers, this was just a start. They were showing off the first of more than a dozen houses they plan to restore in the community. For now, Park View is a community of contrasts. Some streets look like a neighborhood in decline. Others inspire dreams of the past.
  The housing stock of Queen Anne, Colonial Revival and Craftsman styles could easily draw a new generation of buyers. Architectural features include octagonal turrets and ornamental woodwork, slate roofs and huge windowed bays.
  Residents have worked and waited for revitalization for years. They and city planners say the time has come. They believe the neighborhood, built in the late 1800s, can see the same kind of success that preservation brought to neighboring Olde Towne.

  In June, city planners unveiled a new plan. A sense of urgency had emerged out of the work that staff and citizens were doing on a 20--year comprehensive plan for Portsmouth.
  Park View wasn't the only neighborhood waiting for a comeback. But a couple of major factors put it at the top of the pack. A new high-end apartment complex had been announced for the old Portsmouth General Hospital site between Park View and Olde Towne. And the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority had been acquiring properties in the neighbor-hood for years.
  That's where Garcia and Spiers came in.
  The developers specialize in the restoration of historic structures and have done work in several Hampton Roads cities, including five California

 
Spiers, left, and Mickey Garcia walk down Unden Avenue In the Park View neighborhood of Portsmouth. The developers plan to restore more than 12 Park View homes, Investing $120,000 to $150,000 Into each.
 

bungalows in College Court, a neighborhood in Suffolk.
 Garcia, 33, got into construction at the age of 20 and worked his way through col-lege supervising the building of gas stations. He became interested in renovation and restoration about eight years ago. He and Spiers, a 32-year-old developer, first worked together on a restoration project in Olde Towne several years ago.
  "They saw what was going on over here," said Kathy Warren, the development director at the housing author-ity. "We knew they could do it."
  The housing authority's agreement with Garcia-Spiers Development allows the build-ers to purchase the homes two at a time. They initially will pay anywhere from $9,000 to $14,000 for each property. The homes have been in such poor shape that appraisers consid-ered them a negative value to the land, Warren said.
  "That's what we usually run into," Spiers said.
  They seldom see a house they don't want to save;
  Most of the Park View properties had been cut into three to five apartments. Some had languished, vacant for years.
  The developers plan to invest $120,000 and $150,000 into each bome. When they're finished, they will have unraveled the messy conversions that marred historic features with multiple exterior doors and stairways.

 

Warren said the redevelopment agency received 20 calls from people interested in houses in the neighbor-hood once word circulated that Garcia and Spiers were involved.
  Within weeks of starting, they had contracts in the $180,000s for the first two. They have reservations on the next three, including one in the $215,000 range.

  It was actually Olde Towne that brought their first buyers to Park View.
  The Hazelwoods were living in a three-bedroom ranch in Virginia Beach. They fell in love with Olde Towne when a friend moved there.
  The young couple surfed the Internet and realized that some of those historic houses were going for $400,000.
  "That put a little damper on our mood," Wayne Hazelwood said.
  So they started driving around Park View, where they saw the pockets of blight. And potential.
  After calling the housing authority, they drove to Suf-folk to look at the homes that Garcia-Spiers Development had restored.
  "It was beautiful," Hazelwood said.
  Then they looked at the first house the developers...