Valdosta historic homes making a comeback

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By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
March 11, 2019

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Valdosta's history is coming back to life as the city's oldest neighborhoods begin to boom.

A recent study from Georgia State University showed embracing historic buildings can pay off for communities and property owners.

City officials and residents in Valdosta's several historic neighborhoods have noticed a resurgence of people moving in and renovating homes.

"Neighborhoods are becoming more populated with the millennial generation, and the younger people who are moving back in from the suburban areas," said James Horton, Historic Preservation Planner.

Homes with a history are making a comeback across South Georgia.

"The character and the beauty of the historic homes, how they're constructed and the way they're built," said Alex Alvaraz. "You try and reconstruct that now, it's very costly and sometimes priceless as far as the craftsmanship."

Alvaraz owns several properties in the Brookwood historic neighborhood. He's one of many homeowners reviving the area.

"We've seen millions of dollars worth of investment in downtown Valdosta, and we're seeing that buildings are being snapped up very quickly once they go on the market," Horton said.

The Georgia State study showed that property values went up about 14 percent on historic homes designated on the national register.

Renovating the homes can have its challenges with specific standards and permits required. But, some property owners said it's worth it to preserve something beautiful.

"It protects you as a homeowner, but also protects your neighbors, doing the right thing," Alvaraz said. "History is important, and the craftsmanship of our ancestors and families that have lived in these communities is important."

There are seven nationally recognized historic districts in Valdosta, and more than 2,000 locally recognized historic buildings.

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