Plans for the historic Van Landingham Estate in Plaza Midwood include townhomes, restoration of main house and new building

Plans for the historic Van Landingham Estate in Plaza Midwood include townhomes, restoration of main house and new building
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Preliminary designs for the historic Van Landingham Estate were introduced at a Plaza Midwood neighborhood meeting last week and will most likely include 18-21 townhomes, restoration of the Van Landingham home and a two-story office and retail space.

Background: Brooks Shelley and his partner closed the The Van Landingham Estate Inn & Conference Center for business in 2018. The original 5-acre property was split into two parcels when Shelley and his partner sold the home and surrounding 2.8 acres to VLE Partners LLC — a partnership between Ascent Real Estate Capital and Stono River Partners — in March 2019. Cluck Design Collaborative, the team behind The Suffolk Punch, Queen Park Social, SouthBound and a ton of other local projects, has led the design of the new office building and refurbished house on this 2.8-acre property. Shelley and his partner own the remaining 2.2 acres of land which has now been rezoned, allowing for townhomes to be built.

Townhome plans: “I have nothing to show yet,” Shelley said of design plans for the townhomes. He also said no one has been selected to complete the project yet; it’s not a decision that will be rushed. He did say two homes on the edge of the property will be bulldozed so the townhomes aren’t packed in too tightly.

House plans: Kevin Kennedy and Chris Scorsone of Cluck shared their vision for the project. “We want to save the house,” Scorsone said. “And, perhaps, bring it back to its former glory.” The plan is for it to go back to being an event venue.

Expansion possibilities: The majority of the presentation focused on a possible new building between the existing house and orangery. Kennedy and Scorsone showed a two-story structure with room for retail on the bottom and office space on the second floor. Nothing is set in stone, but Scorsone said the idea is to have some sort of cafe or coffee shop and a local boutique on the bottom floor. He mentioned Not Just Coffee and Paper Skyscraper as examples of the type of tenants they’d hope to attract — local staples.

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Design concepts: I love what they presented for the property. The idea is to work with the landscape and keep as much greenery as possible. And if they do build an office/multi-use space; it’s meant to complement the Van Landingham home, not mimic or compete with it. They want the historic home to remain the focal point. The new building would be smaller in scale, and they want vines to climb the walls so it’ll eventually be covered in greenery — it’s not supposed to look like an office building. In terms of signage and lighting, what they presented was very low-key — nothing distracting, bright or neon.

Next meeting: There’s a meeting scheduled for May 22 at the estate where you can see the designs, talk to the developers, etc.

Development and design is still in the early stages. We will keep you updated as plans firm up.

Van Landingham property plans

This is the current proposed plan, with the main house far left, the proposed office/retail space represented with the two blocks and the townhomes are the grey box on the right.

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