Peeling paint, dusty green carpets covered in pieces of ceiling tile, and faded and patterned wallpapers greeted visitors at the four historic homes along Capitol Avenue and Jackson Street that were open to the public for the first time Friday morning.
The properties — 501, 507 and 513 E. Capitol Ave., and 101 Jackson St. — were recently acquired by the Jefferson City Housing Authority, acting as the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, as part of their mission to fight blighted areas in the city.
The homes, along with 500 E. Capitol and 511 E. Capitol Ave., are part of the East Capitol Urban Renewal Zone, which is bordered by East State, Lafayette, East High and Adams streets.
The Housing Authority allowed visitors to tour the four properties for the first time Friday, in the hopes of finding interested redevelopers.
Amanda and Levi Williams, who bought the house at 103 Jackson St. in April and are redeveloping it, were interested to see what the other homes in their new neighborhood look like inside.
As they walked through 501 E. Capitol Ave., the couple shared observations of the property with each other through bright pink face masks.
"They don't have the fancy hardware like the other houses did," Levi said in one bedroom.
"This is definitely built to be a normal family home," Amanda replied, commenting on the simplicity of the design.
In one bedroom, Amanda pointed out lines in the rundown carpet that make a sort of rectangle, where you could tell a bed once stood, flattening the carpet underfoot.
Scattered around the property are reminders of its former status as a living space — an old, orange rotary phone hangs in the kitchen, ripped curtains still hang on some of the windows, and hangers can be found in the closets.
In the living room, an area of exposed brick that was once a fireplace drew Amanda's attention.
"It's interesting to see what people have stolen out of these houses," Amanda said, also commenting on a missing medicine cabinet in the bathroom.
The building at 501 E. Capitol Ave., constructed in 1895, was built as a duplex but has been used as a four-plex. It has four bedrooms and four bathrooms in its 4,556 square feet, according to county records.
"I like it. I think it's a good investment property. If we were still looking, it would be a contender," Amanda said after touring the home.
The Williams said the property would be a good choice for someone willing to put in the money, with an interest in renting part of the building.
The homes are listed on the National Historic Register, so a potential investor could get state and federal tax credits if they bought the property — 25 percent from state and 20 percent from federal, as long as the property is income-producing, Amanda said.
Next door, 507 E. Capitol Ave., built in 1875 as a single-family home, features a dark wood stair rail and high ceilings, which made it a favorite of many of the 73 visitors Friday morning. It is an estimated 3,332 square feet and has five bedrooms and three bathrooms.
Farther down, 511 E. Capitol Ave., which was not available for the open house due to dangerous conditions but is open for proposals, has four bedrooms and four bathrooms and is estimated to be 2,136 square feet. It is one of the newer homes, built in 1910.
The last property featured Friday on Capitol Avenue, 513 E. Capitol Ave., was built in 1920. It has three bedrooms and two bathrooms in its 1,592 square feet and a partial basement.
Down on the corner of Jackson and East State streets, the duplex at 101 Jackson St. was also part of the open house. Including two covered porches, it's 4,228 square feet and has four bedrooms and bathrooms throughout its four stories. It was built in 1910 as a duplex but has been used as a four-plex.
The Housing Authority is accepting redevelopment proposals for the properties until 2:30 p.m. Jan. 7. Potential developers can submit proposals for one or more properties.
Proposals for redevelopment should include goals for the redevelopment of the property in compliance with the overlay district requirements, city code and zoning restrictions; use of the existing building or buildings as residential or commercial; start of the renovation within four months of the award and completion within 18 months; and occupancy within three months of completion of construction.
According to the Housing Authority, proposals will be evaluated based on proposed use, impact on the removal of blight in the area, the historical relevance of the use, the impact of the proposal on future renovations in the areas, financial stability of the developer, the developer's experience and reputation, and price.
Housing Authority Executive Director Cynthia Quetsch said seven people signed up after the open house for closer, private looks before making possible bids.
The Housing Authority is also accepting bids on 500 E. Capitol Ave., also known as Ivy Terrace, and it held a first open house Nov. 6. A second public viewing of the home is scheduled from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Nov. 21.