urban (2008-11)

Real â"Estateâ"

Urban Renewal

Find your own big lot near the center city

by Matt Edens

The term â“estate lotâ” typically conjures up the image of some brick-fronted, vinyl-wrapped pasture palace plopped down on the far fringes of suburbia. You know, out where the land is sufficiently cheap that itâ’s attractive for some speculator to carve it up into five-acre tracts and sell it off to someone looking for a spread thatâ’s too big to mow and too little to plow (the soil perks, too, so itâ’s perfect for septicâ). Itâ’s a trade-off some people are willing to make, I suppose: no nosey neighbors too close by, but a 30-minute drive to the nearest sit-down restaurant (not counting the Hardeeâ’s at the highway interchange).

Still, despite the disadvantages, such privacy is all but unknown in the center city, right? Those people living in lofts are stacked up like cordwood and, even in Fourth and Gill, theyâ’re crammed in like sardines (not that those new tract-house developments do much betterâ). What youâ’re looking for is a broad lawn and a little elbow room. Where are you going to find that within 10 minutes of downtown?

North Hills, naturally. Drive out Washington Pike, past Whittle Springs Road, and the hill to the right is topped with attractive old homes set back from the road behind deep lawns. (A little farther out, Tazwell Pike offers similar vistas.) Often among the most historic homes in their surroundings, they date back to the days when Washington and Tazwell Pikes were, like todayâ’s â“estate lots,â” the edge of town.

This rambling brick bungalow backing up to North Hills proper is a prime example. Inside, this lovingly restored home is loaded with historic features like hardwood floors, French doors, and a working, Craftsman style fireplace, along with upgrades like a newly remodeled kitchen with custom cabinets.

Outside, four different decks and terraces add tons of outdoor living space, including a private terrace off the master suite. Thereâ’s also a columned porte-cochere at the top off the circular drive, plus a separate two-car garage. Sitting on a double lot that covers almost two acres, itâ’s about as big a piece of property as you can find inside the I-640 loop (less than a four-mile drive from the Downtown Grill and Brewery, according to MapQuest). Even more impressive, unlike the slender saplings that surround most pasture palaces, this homeâ’s broad lawn is shaded by massive, mature trees.

3220 Washington Pike 2,600 sq. ft. 3 bdrm, 3 bath $279,900 Contact: Stephanie Romer, Century 21 382-5054 www.easttnagent.com

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