WVP was established in 2001 in order to restore a five-building complex of historic properties in downtown DeLand the city had allowed to decay for decades. Prior to and during this time Hall also sold hundreds of derelict buildings from St. Augustine to Orlando working for several other real estate companies. The desolate neighborhood Hall was instrumental in redeveloping steadily turned from drugs and prostitution into an array of cozy dwellings and productive adults. Urban residential living returned to historic downtown DeLand. Front porches were restored, sidewalks re-poured, homes painted, and picket fences built. Residents walked to work, the library, to cozy bars and restaurants, art galleries, and antique shops. But wait….the story gets better then, sad to report, crashes.
The first investor to catch Hall’s dream was from California, Michael Arth. He’d built several houses and had his eye on another creative adventure. An artist by trade, he bought into Hall’s dream. Being the first Realtor in the area to use Loopnet, a new national website, Hall tossed out the line and Arth caught the bait. Hall and Arth had no money for the project but amazing ideas. Eventually Hall located private lenders and the United Southern Bank of Lake County, all anxious to get involved. Shockingly, local lenders refused to see the value in the project.
A four-square block of over 80 buildings were saved from the wrecking ball, drug lords and prostitutes fled the area, and the cleanup began. Arth was able to purchase, with no money down, 18 buildings including some with apartments. Hall purchased the five buildings on the southwest corner of S Woodland Boulevard and East Euclid Avenue across the street from Stetson University’s multi-million-dollar sports complex. LOCATION. LOCATION. LOCATION!
Located adjacent to downtown DeLand between Howry and Euclid Avenues (north and south) and Woodland Boulevard and Amelia Avenue (east and west) the Garden District, once a neglected 4-square block of over 80 dilapidated buildings sporting drugs, prostitutes, and decay, was featured in the April 2004 issue of Southern Living This New Urbanism Movement reinforced a sense of community, safety, and enthusiasm for downtown DeLand. The enhancement of a once neglected area adjacent to Town Center brought renewed pride and commitment to its citizens.
Through the years Hall listed, sold, and resold over 60 buildings in the area. No other realtor would show the properties due to crime in the area. After seven years of non-stop restoration and adaptive rehabilitation the 2008 recession hit and took its toll on the Garden District. Crime slowly seeped back with the city and police doing nothing to alleviate the situation. Many families moved, others lost their homes, and decay set in. A few families retained their homes on Hayden continued to care for their property.
The award-winning preservation project, FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital, completed by Hall in 2006 at the southwest corner of the Garden District has become a much desired destination for animals with illnesses others cannot treat. It took Hall 6 years and 28 days of nonstop demolition and reconstruction to complete the project.
After the economic crash that began in 2008 the City of DeLand ceased cooperation with the project and allowed crime to re-enter. Families that had spent their savings to restore their purchases were accosted on the front porch by prostitutes and drug dealers. Crime returned with a vengeance. Many families abandoned their homes, others attempted to sell, and houses which were never purchased and restored sank further into disrepair. Thankfully there is a slight resurgence of interest in the area with a few new purchases and rising prices. Hopefully the project will eventually reach completion and advance the dream Maggi Hall had so many years ago.
WHETHER NEW HOUSES, OLD HOUSES, OR IN BETWEEN,
Serving Volusia, Lake, Putnam, Seminole and Orange Counties including DeLand, Orlando,
Maggi Hall, Broker, West Volusia Properties
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