Ceremony nails start of College Court restoration

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 18, 2002

Developers Mickey Garcia and Trevor G. Spiers actually started working in one of the 90-year-old College Court bungalows more than a month ago. But the restoration of College Court kicked off officially Thursday, when the developers, city officials and elected leaders and representatives from the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society celebrated the project with a groundbreaking ceremony.

Or to be more precise, a golden hammer ceremony. Instead of shoveling that first pile of dirt, participants armed with gold hammers simultaneously drove golden nails into a slab of wood.

Early this spring, Garcia, of Garcia Development LLC, and his partner, Spiers, partner Trevor, bought the historic College Court from Preservation of Historic Suffolk for $225,000.

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Located on North Main Street across from the Prentis House, the complex consists of five historic cottages, an 1818 building that once housed the Suffolk Collegiate Institute, and an adjacent two-story house built in 1915.

The bungalows are included in the national Register of Historic Places, making the company eligible for state and federal tax credits for the rehabilitation.

The developers will spend the next seven months working on the houses.

The exteriors will be restored with existing historic guidelines.

The cottage interiors will keep many of their original features, including hardwood floors and butler’s cabinets. But the cottages will also be equipped with the latest amenities, including digital Internet access, dishwashers and high-grade marble counters.

People have already expressed interested in the bungalows, In fact, Garcia said he already has a contract on one of them.

The larger houses facing North Main will be restored and available for retail use.