‘Third time’s the charm’: City Council OKs new plan for historic Plaza Midwood estate

City Council approved new plans to preserve the VanLandingham Estate in Plaza Midwood on Monday night, after the fate of the historic property was in limbo for years.

Real estate firms Ascent Real Estate Capital and Stono River Partners filed a rezoning petition in April to add two buildings to the property and preserve the estate, which is a historic landmark. City Council voted unanimously Monday to approve the petition.

The estate was built in 1913 for the VanLandinghams, a prominent Charlotte family.

Jon Dixon, managing principal at Ascent, said they plan to start construction on the main estate within 60 days and hope to start on the new buildings within nine months to a year.

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A site plan for the VanLandingham Estate. The new owners plan to restore the existing historic home and add two commercial buildings. Courtesy of Cole Jenest & Stone.

Billy Maddalon, whose family owned the property for 20 years, previously filed two rezoning petitions to save the property.

“Third time’s the charm,” council member Larken Egleston joked as the council voted.

Maddalon has said he struggled to afford maintenance costs while operating the estate as an inn and event center. His first plan would have included a community pool and townhouses, but City Council rejected it in 2015.

The council approved a revised plan with just townhouses in 2018, but Maddalon told the Observer in April that the business lost too much money in the interim. Maddalon said at the time that he still planned to sell the land for the townhouses — not part of the plans approved Monday — to a developer or builder.

The companies bought the estate in March for $1.5 million, property records show.

The plans call for preserving the roughly 8,000-square-foot estate home and the Orangerie outbuilding, and adding two new commercial buildings on the site.

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A rendering of the plans for the historic estate. Courtesy of Cluck Designs

A two-story, 5,000 square foot building will replace an existing garage the firms will demolish. The second, two-story, 18,000-square-foot building could be used for office and ground-floor retail, according to the plan.

The historic home will most likely either be used as an event venue or converted to office space.

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Danielle Chemtob covers economic growth and development for the Observer. She’s a 2018 graduate of the journalism school at UNC-Chapel Hill and a California transplant.